Occupy Wall Street protesters have dropped a lawsuit that argued sleeping represents a form of free speech after the NYPD dismantled their encampment in Zuccotti Park.
Protesters were forced from the park by the NYPD in the early morning hours of November 15. After the eviction, the park was reopened to the public, but still surrounded by police barricades. Those barricades were recently removed, though, prompting protesters to change their minds about pursuing the law suit, according to Alan Levine, a lawyer for the movement.
Brookfiled Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park, maintained that its rules prohibit camping or sleeping and the use of tents and sleeping bags. The company’s attorneys also claimed the generators, wooden pallets and other electronics brought into the park by protestors presented hazardous conditions. The protestors request for an injunction against the city immediately after the raid was initially denied by State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman.
Jennifer Waller, a protester, was the named plaintiff in the suit, which was dropped Friday. Levine said protesters no longer seem interested in returning to Zuccoti Park.
“Nobody seems to care about that anymore,” he said to Reuters. “We’re not about to try to litigate that issue in the abstract. I suspect it will recur as an issue, and when it does, we’ll be prepared to litigate it.”
City attorney Sheryl Neufeld responded to the decision to drop the suit, saying, “We think the plaintiff made the right move in withdrawing her case, as it has no merit.”