UPDATE: Gabe Pressman, president of the New York Press Club Foundation and chairman of the Freedom of the Press Committee, has responded to the arrest of several journalists overnight.
In a statement, Pressman said:
The actions of some police officers were not consistent with the long-established relationship between the NYPD and the press. 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. We want the department to investigate the incidents involved this crackdown on Zuccotti Park and we want assurances it won’t happen again.
Several reporters covering the NYPD’s surprise eviction of Occupy Wall Street found themselves in handcuffs along with the nearly 200 others arrested yesterday.
Associated Press writer Karen Matthews, AP photographer Seth Wenig and Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak were all arrested, according to the AP.
Two reporters from DNAinfo.com, news editor Patrick Hedlund and freelance photographer Paul Lomax, were also arrested while covering the eviction, DNAinfo reported on their site.
Many of those arrested even displayed their NYPD-issued press passes, according to reports, to no avail.
Josh Harkinson, a reporter with Mother Jones, said that police told him he was in a “frozen zone” when he tried to remain in Zuccotti Park to observe the eviction. He was dragged away by a cop, who told him he was being removed for his own safety as police doused the campsite with what appeared to be pepper spray.
When Harkinson asked the cop his name, he was told “Watch your back,” he reported.
Other members of the press reported being pushed and roughed-up by police while covering the raid. Lindsey Christ, a reporter for NY1, told The New York Times that one New York Post reporter was even thrown into a choke hold by police.