Friday, October 14, 2011

More on the Zuccotti Park Protests

I just got back from Zuccotti Park, and it was more crowded than it's been in the past few days - and that's with the rain/drizzle and more rain forecast. Media trucks are plentiful and I've got to think that the threat of eviction to clean the park this morning energized the crowds and got more people to show up - and to show up to see whether the protesters would be evicted.

The end result is that there's a lot more people, but within the park itself it doesn't seem to be a police presence and things were its usual state of protest drummers and occasional chants - but peaceful.

Posting photos shortly.

Significantly larger crowds during the noon hour at Zuccotti Park today.
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This particular incident occurred earlier this morning and deserves further scrutiny. A protester, who was later identified as someone belonging to the National Lawyer's Guild, was apparently hit and/or run over by a NYPD officer on a motorized scooter on Broadway. Here's the video:

It shows that the guy was up close and personal with the cop on the scooter, and then there's a scrum. The guy ends up on the ground, everyone pushes forward, and then the cops move in to move everyone out of the way - and appear to be arresting and/or treating/dealing with the guy who was "run over".

The guy at most had his foot run over by the scooter - not exactly getting run over by a car - and his reaction appears to be playing up the incident for the hoards of videographers and photographers present.

One thing to further keep in mind is that almost everyone in the protests and covering the protests has a camera of some sort - and many have video capabilities. Thus we'll get multiple views and Kurosawa would have a Rashomon field day.

CBS News reports that the guy lost his balance and was run over, which would indicate that it was accidental. But note that you've got photographers and videographers lining up to capture the scene (they block some key details in this video btw, like whether the guy purposefully put his foot in the way of the oncoming scooter and/or played up his injuries for the assembled media. Others in the crowd are busy shouting that the guy's leg was run over, which would be a neat trick considering the size of the scooter involved.

I expect to see an inevitable lawsuit against the NYPD for the incident - and this video may well be included as evidence.

The NYT has more on the incident, including that the person was a legal observer for the NLG named Ari Douglas. Unlike the NYT representation of the video, I see the officer get off the scooter and attempt to contain the scene until other officers show up to assist. Note that there was a group of people converging on this officer at the critical moments when the man fell, and it's little wonder that the guy is now under arrest on multiple charges.

The New York Times has updated its coverage and it notes that at least several independent eyewitnesses claim that Douglas purposefully put his foot under the scooter and that he was never trapped at any time.
The Daily News quoted one of its photographers, Joseph Marino, as saying that the scooter “definitely hit” Mr. Douglas but did not run him over. “I saw him sticking his legs under the bike to make it appear he was run over,” Mr. Marino said.

Mr. Browne said he was also told by The Associated Press that one of its photographers witnessed Mr. Douglas deliberately putting his feet under the scooter.

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