crimes and misdemeanors

Student Found Not Guilty Thanks to Video at First Occupy Wall Street Trial

Police stand by as protesters march to Wall Street during an ACT-UP and Occupy Wall Street demonstration on April 25, 2012 in New York City. ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), was marking their 25-year anniversary in supporting services for people with AIDS worldwide. They were joined by Occupy Wall Street protesters in a march from New York's city hall to Wall Street. The groups called for a tax on Wall Street transactions and speculative trades to raise money for to end the global AIDS epidemic and provide universal healthcare in the U.S.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Alexander Arbuckle, the defendant in the first Occupy Wall Street case to actually go to trial, has been acquitted after video of the incident in question showed him breaking no laws. The best part: Arbuckle was hoping to defend police officers working at Occupy protests with his NYU photojournalism project when he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly blocking the street. “I felt the police had been treated unfairly on the media,” he told the Village Voice. “All the focus was on the conflict and the worst instances of brutality and aggression, where most of the police I met down there were really professional and restrained.”

Arbuckle’s schoolwork brought him to a January 1 march, where luckily Occupy’s most diligent live-streamer Tim Pool was taping the action. In the clip, later used as evidence along with the NYPD’s own video footage, protesters are clearly seen using the sidewalk like they were asked to, with only the swarm of officers blocking traffic. (Pool’s video can be seen here, with the arrest action taking place around minute 35.)

What’s happening is very similar to what happened in 2004 with the Republican National Convention,” Arbuckle’s lawyer told the Voice. “It’s just a symptom of how the NYPD treats dissent. But what has changed is that there is more prevalence of video. It really makes our job a lot easier to have that video.” This “dissenter” just happened to be a potential ally.

Student Found Not Guilty at First OWS Trial