Ten Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested last night at Federal Hall (UPDATED)
Ten Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested last night near Federal Hall, according to the NYPD.
The charges included disorderly conduct, unreasonable noise, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, an NYPD spokesman said.
One officer’s left arm and shoulder were injured during the arrests, and he was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for treatment, according to cops.
Protesters with Occupy Wall Street sought refuge from the NYPD yesterday
on the steps of Federal Hall, a historic city landmark which also
happens to be federal property — and out of the NYPD’s jurisdiction. A
police officer told Metro yesterday the NYPD cannot make arrests at
Federal Hall unless federal officials ask them to. But by nightfall, several protesters had been taken into custody as OWS remained on Wall Street.
The move to Federal Hall comes after five protesters were arrested at 6 a.m. yesterday after sleeping on the nearby sidewalk overnight.
These were the first arrests since protesters began camping with
sleeping bags and blankets near the New York Stock Exchange last week
under a 2000 court order that allows sleeping as a form of protest, so
long as half the sidewalk is still accessible for pedestrians.
As Wall Street workers began filtering to work Monday at 6 a.m.,
police told protesters they could not sit, lay down, or obstruct
sidewalk traffic. One officer picked up a cardboard sign that belonged
to Conner Hicks, who tried to pull it back before he was arrested.
“I think it’s completely unfair. I feel like I have a right to make a
sign,” said Hicks, who returned to Federal Hall upon his release from
police custody. “All of us have a right to be here and stand up for
what we feel is right.”
Police said the five protesters arrested Monday morning face charges including harassment
and violation of local law, though they would not provide details of the
circumstances leading to the arrests.
“The NYPD makes up the law as they go,” protester Jack Amico, 23, told Metro. “They lie … and they falsely arrest people.”
At about 5 p.m., a park ranger outside Federal Hall used a bullhorn
to alert OWS that their new campsite was closing, and asked that they do
not sleep on the steps.
NYPD officers stood nearby in groups and police vans lined the streets. An Occupy Wall Street Twitter account began posting photos of protesters being arrested just before 10 p.m.
Prominent civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who played a major
role in litigating the legal case that began the law that protects
public sleeping in protest, said he was reviewing footage of the arrests
and may assemble a legal team to fight the charges.
“It’s questionable why after a week, they all of a sudden said they couldn’t be there. It’s all suspect,” Siegel said.
Can protesters sleep on the sidewalks?
The court order
stemmed from a tenants’ advocacy group where protesters slept on the
sidewalk to symbolize homelessness. In 2000, the U.S. District Court
ruled that the city cannot prevent people from using public sleeping as a
form of protest, as long as the gathering is orderly.
Protester claims NYPD threatened to take his dog
Jack Amico said police have become so strict with Occupy members, that
officers even harassed him by threatening to have his dog taken from
him. Amico said his leashed puppy, Ava, was sleeping on the sidewalk at
his feet when officers told him he would have to hold her in his arms
because it is illegal for pets to sleep on the sidewalk.
“I was threatened that they would call the ASPCA because she doesn’t
have her shots yet,” Amico said. “I told them the law states you don’t
have to have an animal’s shots until they are six months of age and
(she) is three and a half months. He said, ‘You can’t prove that.’”