A continuous undercurrent of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street protests has been a struggle about access between police and the press, with journalists repeatedly voicing concern that their freedom to report has been intentionally hindered by police. Locally, the complaints culminated after the raid on Zuccotti Park in a letter from media executives to the NYPD expressing “profound displeasure, disappointment and concern over the recent actions taken against the media.” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly responded with a memo to officers reminding them, “When incidents spill over or occur on private property, members of the media will not be arrested for criminal trespass, unless an owner or representative expressly indicates that the press is not to be permitted.” Video from this morning’s Occupy Wall Street action appears to show the journalists’ concerns firsthand.
On assignment for the New York Times, freelance photographer Robert Stolarik can be seen in the below clip attempting to capture an arrest inside the World Financial Center, as cops push him and repeatedly stand in the way of his shot. Stolarik is wearing his press credentials, but the officers in question pay them no mind. “It was clearly visible and he was very aware,” Stolarik told the Village Voice of the cop intent on obstructing his view. “That guy clearly didn’t follow the departmental directive from Kelly.”