Friday, December 09, 2011

Bloomberg Claims NYPD Didn't Prevent Press From Reporting On Occupy Wall Street Raid: Gothamist:

Bloomberg insisted that there was no media blackout during the early morning raid: "We didn't keep anybody from reporting, you just had to stand to the side. You don't have a right as a press person to stand in the way just in the interest of getting the story...the police [showed] amazing restraint. This is the greatest police department in the world. The number of times police fire their weapons here is so much less than any other police department."

We reported at the time of the raid that an NPR reporter, a New York Times reporter, and a City Councilmember were all arrested. A New York Post reporter was allegedly put in a "choke hold" by the police, an NBC reporter's press pass was reportedly confiscated, and some reporters and protesters were hit with pepper spray during skirmishes with police after the eviction. Bloomberg claimed at the time that reporters were only asked to "stand to the side"—it may have been literally true, but many reporters said the "side" in this case was so far away from the park that reporting the eviction in any serious way proved seriously difficult.

Later, the Society of Professional Journalists condemned the city's actions and said the Mayor's efforts insinuated what "would seem to be a strategic decision to cloak potentially volatile police activity from the public."