Several Journalists Among Those Arrested During Zuccotti Park Raid

NEW YORK (CBSNewsYork/AP) — Officials say several journalists were arrested while covering the raid and eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park on Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the journalists were among 200 who were arrested following the raid.

PHOTOS: NYPD Raid On Zuccotti Park

Associated Press writer Karen Matthews and photographer Seth Wenig were taken into custody Tuesday along with Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak.

Matthews and Wenig were taken into custody after they followed protesters through an opening in a chain-link fence into a park, according to an AP reporter and other witnesses.

Wall Street Journal reporter Alison Fox saw Matthews and Lysiak being placed in handcuffs. Another AP reporter later saw Matthews and Wenig being removed in a police van.

hedlund Several Journalists Among Those Arrested During Zuccotti Park Raid

Patrick Hedlund was among several reporters arrested during coverage of the OWS protests on Nov. 15. (DNAinfo/David Torres)

Patrick Hedlund, a News Editor, and Paul Lomax, a freelance  photographer assigned to cover Occupy Wall Street for, were also arrested in separate incidents.

Freelance radio journalist Julie Walker who was reporting for NPR says she was arrested on disorderly conduct while walking several blocks north of Zuccotti Park after covering the raid.

Other freelancers were also reportedly arrested.

After hearing about the arrests and alleged media access restrictions placed on journalists during the raid, PEN American Center and PEN International issued a statement.

“PEN American Center and PEN International today condemned restrictions on press coverage of police crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York and elsewhere, calling the arrests of journalists, the grounding of media helicopters and the restrictions on access to the Occupy sites ‘an obvious abridgement of the First Amendment right of all Americans to monitor official actions that clearly carry their own First Amendment concerns.'”

The city says police normally keep the press at a distance to protect them.

“The police department routinely keeps members of the press off to the side when they’re in the middle of a police action. It’s to prevent the situation from getting worse and it’s to protect the members of the press,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Journalists who arrived on the outskirts of Zuccotti Park as riot police evicted protesters said they were kept from standing in one place to watch the events and some, including an AP videojournalist, said they were kept several blocks from the site. Journalists wearing press passes were kept on the sidewalks and away from the park, along with the protesters, several said.

Deputy NYPD inspector Kim Royster said that 22 people were arrested, including two AP journalists and two other journalists, for entering a private park; protesters clipped a chain link fence to get in, she said.

“The space was off limits. It was private property and there was signage that said no trespassing,” Royster said.

A protester at the site confirmed the police account, saying protesters tore a hole in a chain link fence to get into the park after the Zuccotti encampment was cleared.

“They had hardware. There was a chunk of wood keeping it together along with a chain and they used hardware to remove all of it,” protester April Kidwell said.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said he disturbed by the arrests.

“I believe that part of what makes our city great is the tolerance of different opinions and the press’ ability to cover major events,” said Stringer.

Gabe Pressman, president of the New York Press Club Foundation, sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly reading in part that “the actions of some police officers were not consistent with the long-established relationship between the NYPD and the press.”

The letter continued on to say, “The brash manner in which officers ordered reporters off the streets and then made them back off until the actions of the police were almost invisible is outrageous.”

Pressman is calling on the city to investigate the incident.

Also among those arrested was New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • G

    First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America –

    December 15th, 1791 – November 15th, 2011

    Rest In Peace

  • j

    The Department of Justice use torture to make suspects look unstable and therefor play into hands of jurors and conjured witnesses. Humiliation, drugging, sleep deprivation, stress positions, threats of physical violence, harassing relatives, etc… are commonly used.

    Many times my comments are blocked. They use http “cookies” to flag my comments and filter them.

  • Not real Journalists!

    Oh, The Horror!! Supposed members of the Media are arrested for violating the law. When will it end? You could be assigned to a war torn third world nation and actually have your safety endangered. Whining members of the Media, grow up and act like a Journalist and not a Demonstrator.

    • Rugbyball

      The number of journalists killed overseas reporting the atrocities of war and oppression are real and large, and any good journalists would jump at the chance to go over seas and risk there lives to bring to light what others try so hard to hide. If you think just because where in American that police, politicians and other officials have nothing to hide and do no wrong, then you’re living in a dream. Journalists, as annoying as many feel they are, are equalizers they force people to think before they act, or face the court of public opinion and for some the court of law.
      Why would countries like Iran and Syria try so desperately to keep out journalists and put a lid on the news. Because it has the power to educate the people with knowledge so they can make up there own minds.

      Be grateful for journalists, because along with our military power, they are a part of what keeps America free.

  • help the police and listen

    When the police say clear the park clear the park.Reporters have to follow the law and not stir up trouble.The police were not acting in violent way the so called reporters were looking to make a story.

    • james

      so you are implying that journalists work for the state and not for the people? maybe in George Orwell’s “1984”, but you are truly an idiot, most jourrnalist are independent contractors and are allowed to have an opinion of what is right and what is wrong those opinions are called morals, of which you obviously have none kind of like tabloid journalists

  • Philip B Kirschner

    The arresting of press, the unconstitutional actions of the city, mayor and his police henchmen are a blatant violation of the US constitution which is considered supreme. I don’t support the protestors, because they are targeting the wrong people. We should be going after the US FEDERAL RESERVE private central bank which is owned by offshore banksters from the corporation of london. I feel truely sorry for the cops who will lose thier pension to overseas profiteers and robbers while our US DOLLAR is being devalued by over printing. The protestors have it all wrong, they should be going after the fed, and BARNAKE who should be tried for the high crimes of treason. And the police who acted like this, they will be going after you next. You are only following unlawful and unconstitutional orders. We need to take back this nation and let the real patriots like RON PAUL and OATHKEEPERS buld it up, And idiots like Micheal Moore, what about you sir with your mansion which most of us will never even see the inside of?

  • Michael H.

    The First Amendment to our Constitution has been trampled all over this calendar day. Truly a shame.

    • Amtracmarine

      Explain please.

  • Fran

    To protect the press? The news helicopter needs protection?

    • G

      Yes, the no-fly-zone above the park was needed to protect the vulnerable press helicopters in the event police needed to deploy surface-to-air missiles to disperse the crowd.

  • Don Juan

    Press have served in combat environments at least since WW II. The idea that covering the OWS event would be more dangerous than covering war seems specious.

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