“I was arrested for resisting a lawful order (ed. note- revised from “disorderly conduct”) although my conduct was peaceful respectful law-abiding and orderly.”

:: Please note: Below are Naomi’s ongoing comments and reflections on her arrest the evening of October 18th. It is a compilation of posts from her Facebook page. We will update this page frequently. ::

UPDATE OCT. 20 9:52am – update from Naomi
I wanted to send a thank you note to your group (ed. note- Naomi is referring to the demonstrators who were there the night of her arrest) and to the NLG observers who came to look for us at the first precinct. I will do a more eloquent version when I can but please pass on to them all how grateful we are and also that I do believe this kind of looking out for one another does help a great deal to achieve more transparency. Thank you all so much.

UPDATE OCT. 19 11:15pm – update from Naomi
So important I am reposting it and confirmed by my contacts in the film business: even filming crews must REQUEST pedestrians to cross the street, they have no right to compel them: ` if one looks into the auspices of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, one of the buzz banners used right on their homepage is “Free Locations, Free Police Assistance”. Clearly, attracting location usage is very big business for the city. The NYPD is clearly mandated with making life easy for those choosing the city as a location shoot or premiere event. What is also interesting (again, if one chooses to look into things a little more deeply) is that the Code of Conduct/Keys to the City regulations (to which every permit holder must agree to adhere) specifically require that the permit holder itself must ensure safe pedestrian passage through the subject site.’ dang you are good reporters.

UPDATE OCT. 19 11:10pm – update from Naomi
Excellent and accurate piece on Huffington Post that confirms that Huffpost did not have anything to do with the arrests and, far more significantly, that NEITHER DID THE PERMIT in question which had no stipulation about clearing peaceful pedestrians. On the contrary, the permit in question requires pedestrian access. Link: Author Naomi Wolf Speaks Out About Her Arrest At Occupy Wall Street

earlier update:

A better smoking gun! I just learned from an informed source that the permit that the cops invoked as a grounds for arresting my partner and me for walking peacefully on a public sidewalk was one that the Huffington Post had secured (appropriately) for a possible red carpet and pylons, which they did not choose to set up. They were apparently not informed about the arrests at the time – arrests whose legitimacy was ascribed to “their” permit — and of course this kind of permit for a red-carpet-type event on sidewalks says nothing about preventing pedestrian access or giving police powers to arrest pedestrians who step onto the sidewalk. I have been at many such red carpet events and pedestrians pass peacefully by on the sidewalk — the red carpet entity does not have the right to “control the sidewalk for a number of hours” as one officer mis-described the powers of this permit to me.

UPDATE OCT. 19 7:13pm – update from admin
Here’s the link to the MSNBC interview Naomi did earlier today: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/#44963874

UPDATE OCT. 19 3:56pm – update from admin
Journalist Glenn Gabel sent us a video that he put together that puts last night into context as far as what was happening on the street at the time Naomi was arrested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld_mpgvagUc — Thanks for sharing that Glenn!

UPDATE OCT. 19 3:24pm – update from admin
Joan Hamburg podcast is live, hour two starts at 18:50 : http://www.wor710.com/pages/8386067.php

UPDATE OCT. 19 12:32pm – update from admin
Guardian piece is live: Naomi Wolf: how I was arrested at Occupy Wall Street

UPDATE OCT. 19 11:36am – update from admin

1) Please note, Naomi was arrested for “resisting a lawful order” and not for disorderly conduct as previously noted. This distinction has been corrected throughout the notes below.
2) Naomi will be on the Joan Hamburg show at 1:30pm

UPDATE OCT. 19 9:55am – more notes from Naomi

– Please note that I will be on MSNBC at eleven thirty (eastern) today.

– Also: some press reports say that I was arrested because I ignored police warnings to get off the sidewalk or that I was arrested for using a megaphone without a permit. Both of these are untrue. I told the protesters that the NYC permit requirement that states that using a megaphone is illegal (though the officer who arrested me used a megaphone) is an unverifiable untransparent requirement because it is basically made up by the administration, permits can be denied with no recourse for any reason, and that we have the right to freedom of speech and assembly. I also did not ‘ignore’ police warnings to get off the street. I DISAGREED with them because I knew the law and I knew that they were misinterpreting or misrepresenting the permit in question. There is no requirement in the permit to ‘get off the street’ if you are not obstructing traffic.

In a real civil society you can’t get arrested if you are obeying the law. I was. My understanding of the permit in question was the legal and accurate one and the police’s interpretation of it was not legal and not accurate.

– So I gather from a note below at police are saying the event had a ‘street activities permit’ which allows the entity to ‘control’ the sidewalk for an number of hours. I have never heard of such a thing and if it exists it is a serious issue for a civil society. Can someone please call NYPD spokesperson’s office and ask them to send or scan a copy of that permit? It is a public document and citizens have the right to see it. 270 Hudson Street. Huffington Post Gamechangers event. At the very least we need a bill to ensure that the permits police claim are in force are transparent available documents, present and available to protesters and their lawyers to check at the site, and that they can’t just make parameters up on the spot.

UPDATE OCT. 19 9:48am – video of the arrest

Here is video of the arrest. You see that I was standing completely still and speaking very calmly to the officer, on a sidewalk that the permit specified protesters could march if they did not obstruct foot traffic which they were not; they were in single file and there was about twelve feet on either side of them/us. My arrest was for resisting a lawful order (ed. note- revised from “disorderly conduct”). PLease decide for yourself if my completely still position, calm voice and compliance with what I knew to be the terms of the permit can be construed in that way:


UPDATE OCT. 19 2:55am

:: Please note: Below are Naomi’s initial reactions to her arrest the evening of October 18th. It is a compilation of several posts she made to her Facebook page after being released from custody. A more detailed piece will follow. ::

– I have been released from custody. I was completely complying with the law and the permit as it was described to me by police and I was arrested for standing lawfully on the sidewalk. I will post more tomorrow. Thank you for your messages of support.

– Thank you all again for your support. Given the coverage, I feel that I should put on record a bit of what happened, full details in the am. The protesters were being told that they needed to leave the sidewalk outside of the Huffington Post event because “Huffington Post had a permit” to control the use of the sidewalk. I have a chapter in Give Me Liberty on NYC permits so I knew that could not be accurate. Sidewalks are public spaces and can’t be leased by private entities. I asked for a copy of the permit. A spokesman finally acknowledged that the permit allowed for pedestrian access as long as it did not obstruct foot traffic on the sidewalk. (more)

– I said, okay, we won’t obstruct pedestrian traffic, we will just walk. SO I invited the OWS protesters to come back from across the street and walk with me in a single file so no one obstructed the flow of pedestrians. A phalanx of white-shirted police then approached us and with a megaphone said, “you are disobeying a lawful order to disperse and will be arrested. I approached (respectfully and peacefully) the officer with the megaphone and said I was confused: the permit allowed us to walk if we did not obstruct traffic and we were not doing so. He stood before me and said “Will you get out of my way?” I did not say anything but I could not fall back because I knew he was misinterpreting the law. The sidewalks were being properly handled by the protesters even according to the restrictive permit. I did not step aside so he indicated that I should be cuffed, and my hands were cuffed behind me with plastic handcuffs. My partner and I were taken, cuffed, in a police van to I believe the seventh precinct (they had planned to take us to the first, I am so grateful to protesters who appeared on our behalf at the first) where we were held in separate cells for about half an hour. My cell had blood or feces on the wall. The staff were very courteous. But I was told that I would be released with a summons but that if I rejoined the protesters and got arrested my fingerprints would be taken, the sergeant gestured at a camera and said my photo would be taken, it would all be entered into a federal database and follow me forever. He also said if I spoke I should be careful not to say anything that could be construed as ‘inciting a riot.’ I said hadn’t broken the law — my summons was for resisting a lawful order (ed. note- revised from “disorderly conduct”). Many witnesses will confirm I stood perfectly still and addressed the officer with great courtesy. I said that we hadn’t broken the law according to the permit in question. He said that when an officer deems a situation as safety issue, it trumps the permit. I asked, then how can any situation not be subject to an officer deeming it a “safety issue’? He did not explain but gave me a section of the criminal code to look up. I was arrested for resisting a lawful order (ed. note- revised from “disorderly conduct”) although my conduct was peaceful respectful law-abiding and orderly. I was arrested for not backing down when a police officer told me contrary to what I knew about the law and the permit process that a private entity owned the sidewalk. He was mistaken and I was correct. I behaved entirely lawfully and my arrest was unlawful.



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24 Responses to ““I was arrested for resisting a lawful order (ed. note- revised from “disorderly conduct”) although my conduct was peaceful respectful law-abiding and orderly.””

  1. avatar JK Cooksey says:

    I feel the police at these demonstrations are always on the lookout for any excuse to clear the maximum number of people from the area. Whether we know the law or not, we will not be heard. There will come a time when someone will get hurt by an over-zealous member of the police, and that is when this protest will change. I fear not for the better. Thank you for standing up with the Occupy protesters and helping them to get their voices heard!

    • avatar Lee Bartholomew says:

      don’t particularly think the cops are obeying the law right now. They’ve become a bunch of mini Judge Dredd’s. :(

  2. avatar Ed Shull says:

    Hang in there Naomi, you’re doing great work. If it helps, you looked great! And your friend in the picture seems to be having a decent time.

  3. avatar Elaine Walmsley says:

    Thank you Naomi for standing up not only for your rights but for all of our rights. I know- had this been a different scenario such as if we were in the police state I envision in the future…it may not have turned out well for you at all. This is what I fear. That the protests could escelate to violence is almost without doubt. But with or without- it is the end result that is most important. We HAVE to make a Stand NOW. If this dies–we all die with it.

  4. Thank you Naomi for being one of those who have the courage and inspiration to stand up for our free speech rights and for a more humane world. peace and hugs

  5. remember the GLIK decision from the Boston Federal Appellate Circuit… not necessarily on point (regarding filming on public park property) , yet describes in great detail the rights of the public…

  6. avatar Beca says:

    Interesting how our “leaders” stand on podiums to loudly condemn the leaders of others countries where peaceful demonstrators had been mistreated by their police or military–heck, isn’t that the excuse they gave us for flattening Libya with our bombs?…Yet these same “leaders” sit silently as people in this country are denied their Constitutional and Universal Right to free expression, and assembly, are harassed, threatened and abused by the police! There is major cognitive dissonance going on here!
    I am so glad the police in my city, Philadelphia, PA, have thus far treated the protesters with respect, and have not done anything remotely similar to the bullies in NY and other cities!
    Glad you are ok though!

  7. avatar Randy says:

    Personally, I applaud you for your bravery, and self restraint. You clearly knew your rights, and I sincerely hope you hand the city it’s ass on a silver platter over this. They need to stop abusing their citizens. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, when are this country’s politicians going to learn that they need to rebuild a bond of trust that has been shattered with their citizens and that the best way to do that isn’t by abusing them?

  8. avatar Charley James says:

    Bravo, Naomi, for knowing the law and standing by your right to be where you were. And a special congratulations for being willing to be arrested for asserting your rights. I assume that the city attorney will decline to prosecute but if not, then ask for a jury trial (as everyone arrested at Occupy protests should do). With the video evidence, you will be acquitted and, in the process, you will tie up the court over a nonsense charge.

  9. avatar KKimberly WilderKiKimberlyimb says:

    Hello! Thank you so much for telling the story in such a transparent manner. I think it is important for people to hear the kinds of things that police say to try to intimidate people, such as the part about saying the record will follow you around the rest of your life. Interesting tactics. Thanks for standing with the people! Very brave!

  10. avatar Sons OSf Liberty Riders says:

    ive read your books and agree with much of what you say in them………actually MOST of it……but your WAY too smart to go down their and NOT focus the protestors on the CORE issues: Federal Reserve, Patriot Act, Wars……not this “wall street” garbage. Wall street has Power ONLY through the govt-fed reserve system….C’mon

  11. avatar J says:

    Good for you, right or wrong you stood up for what you believe in. I happen to think you were right, but either way, you stood up in a non-violent way to say: I will be counted, you will not silence me. We need more of that in this country. Keep the faith.

  12. avatar Chi says:

    Way to go Naomi! Sorry you got arrested. The problem with NY cops is that they have no empathy.

  13. avatar Jospeh Ciolino says:

    Who’s the guy with the stupid grin on his face standing with you and why wasn’t HE arrested?

  14. […] This post was Twitted by Bradytwitt […]

  15. avatar Lynn Abea says:

    Way to go. Personally, I had to chuckle to myself at this part of your post…

    “…if I rejoined the protesters and got arrested my fingerprints would be taken, the sergeant gestured at a camera and said my photo would be taken, it would all be entered into a federal database and follow me forever.”

    Now. Why is that so amusing? Last year, I had to travel from Florida to California, but had lost my ID. The ticket agent stated that I would have to go to security, TSA, to see if they’d ok my boarding. Upon arriving at TSA’s security area, I was told that they’d have to make a phone call and I’d have to answer some questions. I was asked the sundry questions about family, birth dates, etc, but they began asking me for addresses I’d lived at throughout my life AND what the names of my neighbors were at those addresses.

    So, take our pictures, take our fingerprints (if you drive, have an ID or a passport, you’ve already given them these, willingly), file away….because I know the government already has those in the national database that was accessed in order to decide if I could fly. FACT. What’s amusing, is this officer’s implied threat….as if it MEANT something *shrug*

  16. avatar Sean O'Donnell says:

    I’m particularly disturbed by the “chilling effect” your arrest had…as the cops warned you that ‘the next time you’re arrested’ you’ll have the book thrown at you. You’ve commented in this sort of thing in the past very well. I’d like to see you on Andrew Napolitano’s show talking about this angle of the police state that exists here.

    Also, I agree…that you and your friend looked good during this otherwise very disturbing event. Anyone who’s ever been on the receiveing end of these armed thugs can tell you it is anything but pleasant…very frightening.

  17. avatar Jane Austen says:

    Darlling little girls, I spent about two weeks here because I care about all the hurting kids being exploited by the GA Wolves. Their message: “Shut Up Mom.” And every single parent I have talked to see them for what they are. When I was 23, world famous psychoanalysts let me rewrite their books. Now I am not supposed to talk. Since they don’t know there ever was another JA, they see no problem in censoring and censoring and censoring Jane Austen. Your people are blind. I think the cops have been miracles of restraint.

    You were idiotic to get arrested. That’s their whole agenda. Get people arrested so more people will realize we are the second coming and that will show mom. Fetching combo of slut walk and nonviolent resistant. You’ve always cared too much about your appearance.

    By one every girl should learn, “Shut the Fuck Up, You Stupid Shithead.” They prefer it to mommy. But first they learn not to take shit from you; then they are invincible. When my oldest was 23, “Vanessa can handle anything that comes up anywhere in the world. Meet Vanessa Wyeth and Katherine Hawkins, who probably would have been treated the same way I was, but would never have set foot there.

    My daddy when I was 5: “Sweetheart, don’t ever worry if everyone in the world thinks you are wrong. You are smarter than they are.” Well if any of you have given birth to four daughters without drugs, including a 10 lb. 4 oz and 9 lb. 8 oz. one at home, nursing for more years than I am comfortable to admit lest I be registered as a sex offender, stay home with them for 15 years, took care of my mom 24/7—we all know there is only one me. Having a tall, dark, handsome Englishmen 16 years younger helps me laugh at the dried up all cunt rhetoric that supporting Hillary unleashed.

    Remind me. Who did you vote for?

  18. […] I’ll leave you with social activist David Suzuki’s thoughts at Occupy Montreal. And with the arrest of Naomi Wolf by the NYPD. […]

  19. avatar Gerasimos says:

    To resist is to create, to create is to resist. Resist the fascist police and educate . In Syria should people demonstrate peacefully or should they use violence? In America should people resist peacefully or use violence? At some point the resistance must take a new form. The police are now Nazi’s-911 is over, heros no more. You either have the right to demonstrate or not. To resist is to create, to create is to resist!

  20. This has saddened me greatly. Someone posted being concered about there being a police state in the future, but how is this not a police state now? When intelligent inspiring people who are the ones who should be leading us get arrested I cry for this world :-(

  21. avatar Johnny Doe says:

    So, besides getting you your unjustifies 15 minutes of fame, what else did you accomplish by getting arrested? The only thing that is going to benefit from you getting arrested is your career. You vulture.

  22. […] October 20, 2011 … Woman describes “How I was arrested at Occupy Wall Street.” […]

  23. avatar Patsy says:

    If people don’t start paying attention, history is on it’s way to repeating itself. Just like in Naomi’s video ‘End of America’
    The similarities between Germany in the 1930’s and USA today are eerie.
    The people in Germany were also in denial, until it was too late. Start preparing…… the worst is yet to come.
    Naomi is a brave woman. Everyone should listen to her or else America is doomed. Go Naomi Go!
    My own pet peeve, I wish everyone would quit making the sign language of Satan. It doesn’t mean Love or Rock On. You Morons.
    Who knows. This email might just put me on the watch list too.

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