:: 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
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.
PHOTO COURTESY OF @MikeShanePhoto
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