At least three journalists detained in Occupy Wall Street raid
According to the Associated Press, the news service’s Karen Matthews was taken into custody along with AP photographer Seth Wenig and New York Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak.
At least one freelance radio journalist, Julie Walker, said she was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.
In all, about 200 people were reportedly arrested early Tuesday in connection with the police raid on the area, also known as Liberty Park. Among those arrested were dozens charged with resisting arrest for linking their arms before they were taken into custody.
One City Council member was reportedly arrested, at least the second local official to be charged in connection with the breaking-up of an Occupy camp. A state senator was arrested in Atlanta several weeks ago when officials closed down a protest there.
Several New York radio reporters complained that they had been penned in with the protesters during the raid.
Donna Lieberman of New York ACLU said her group had reports that journalists were kept out of the park during the eviction.
"We won't see videos of pepper spray this time because police imposed a blackout. The NYPD wouldn't allow media near the park and treated reporters as if they were trespassers," she said. "It's not good for anybody when the Police Department keeps media out."
At a news conference, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended his department's conduct and said it was not unusual to keep journalists away when police are engaged in an action.
After the raid, the company that owns the plaza, Brookfield Office Properties, praised city officials for closing down the camp, the first Occupy site in the nation.
The protest began about two months ago when demonstrators took over the site to protest what they said was the disproportionate power wielded by the richest 1% of the nation while the remaining 99% were forced to deal with debt and a lack of jobs.
“Brookfield appreciates the peaceful and professional response of the NYPD, the FDNY, and the Department of Sanitation, and thanks Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership,” the company said in a prepared statement.
"As had been widely reported, conditions in Zuccotti Park had become dangerous, unhealthy and unsafe. In our view, these risks were unacceptable and it would have been irresponsible to not request that the city take action. Further, we have a legal obligation to the City and to this neighborhood to keep the park accessible to all who wish to enjoy it, which had become impossible.
"As previously stated, Brookfield supports all citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech," the company said.
-- Geraldine Baum, Nathaniel Popper and Tina Susman in New York, Michael Muskal in Los Angeles
Photo: Occupy Wall Street activists protest in Duarte Square after police removed them from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday. Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images