Prosecutors demand Occupy tweets

New York City prosecutors have once again subpoenaed the Twitter records of an Occupy Wall Street protester who was arrested in October 2011 during a mass demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to Reuters, officials are demanding all of Jeff Rae’s tweets from September 15 – October 31, along with account and contact information for Rae.

In January, prosecutors filed a similar subpoena seeking Twitter information for Malcolm Harris, another protester who was detained on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“I was a little bit blown away,” Rae told Reuters. 

”It’s interesting that in places like Egypt our leaders applaud people for using Twitter and social media for their movements. Here, I’m being subpoenaed for using social media.”

Rae confirmed that his lawyer, Paul Mills of the National Lawyers Guild, would be filing a motion to quash the controversial subpoena. 

However, Mills might find it difficult to convince the court to dismiss the subpoena, as prosecutors claim Harris’ tweets are “directly germane to the contested issue of defendant’s state of mind at the time he chose to defy police orders and block the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston added: “The reason the subpoena requested defendant’s Tweets is that defendant has made clear through various public statements that he was well aware of the police instructions that day.”

In other Occupy related news, The New York Times reports that three protestors are suing the city for unlawful arrest in November 2011. 

Kira Moyer-Sims was detained along with three friends waiting in a car while buying coffee near an OWS demonstration in NYC. 

The 20-year-old was subsequently strip-searched and grilled by the Police Department’s intelligence division who asked about her personal history, her relationship with other protesters, the nature of Occupy Wall Street and plans for upcoming protests.

“NYPD surveillance does not appear to be limited to unlawful activity,” NYCLU’s executive director Donna Lieberman said in response to the above-mentioned lawsuit.

Vik Pawar, a lawyer for Moyer-Sims, expressed similar sentiments.

“Not only are the police disrupting people’s rights to free expression… They are taking pre-emptive steps by arresting people who might be just thinking about exercising their rights,” he added.