Videos and images of the NYPD arresting a former Philadelphia cop during the recent OccupyWallStreet (OWS) Day of Action have gone viral.
Retired Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis was detained by New York City police officers on three charges: one violation of local law and two counts of disorderly conduct – including disrupting traffic and refusing to move on.
Lewis – who was wearing a full dress uniform at the time of his arrest – participated in the protests by holding up a sign that read “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries.”
Criticism has steadily mounted against the NYPD in recent months over the department’s heavy handed tactics against unarmed civilian protestors as well as journalists covering the OWS movement.
Indeed, Peter Rothberg of The Nation writes that the NYPD appears to have engaged “in a premeditated and coordinated effort” to block media coverage of the controversial raid against Zuccotti park on November 15.
“Many journalists said they were barred from reporting the police action. Ten reporters were arrested, another was put in a choke hold and numerous others described extensive police harassment, including, perhaps ironically, a New York Post scribe,” said Rothberg.
“One of the few reporters in the park when the police moved in, Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones, was roughly dragged out of Zuccotti and was told by police that reporters had to stay in a ‘press pen.'”
Unsurprisingly, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed authorities kept the media away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
Yet, police attempts to muzzle the media are commonplace during (ongoing) OWS crackdowns in numerous cities, including Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, Denver, Portland, Salt Lake City and St. Louis.