Mayor takes back Liberty Square

Amity Paye AmNews Web Manager | 11/17/2011, 1:09 p.m.
At 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, hundreds of protestors were confronted by police in Liberty Square-also...
Mayor takes back Liberty Square

"I don't think I've ever seen so many Black and Latino cops in my life, it was all white cops attacking us in the nighttime. Y'all ain't in my hood," yelled Malik Rhasaan, founder of Occupy the Hood, addressing the police as he marched from Foley Square to Duarte Square.

Deputy Inspector Kim Royster, commanding officer of the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), responded to this accusation via email, saying, "The NYPD does not deploy officers based upon their ethnicity."

During the day's protests, however, many noticed the discrepancies. Members of Occupy the Hood and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement spoke directly to the Black and Latino police surrounding them. "Slaves and slave drivers. I'm just saying that's what it looks like: white commanders, Black cops," said Rhassan.

Those who were not arrested from the three contingents eventually marched back to Liberty Square around 11 a.m. after word spread of a New York State Supreme Court order requiring police to allow protestors back into the park.

A copy of the order was passed around to protestors and press on site. It read: "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that until this matter is heard on the date set forth above (11/15/11 at 11:30 a.m.) respondents/defendants are prohibited from: (a) Evicting protestors from Liberty Park/Zuccotti Park and or (b) enforcing the 'rules' published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protestors from re-entering the park."

But the police, standing behind two rows of barricades, refused to let protestors back into the park. "You're in contempt of court," chanted hundreds of protestors in unison.

At 11:30 a.m., a court hearing began that overrode the Supreme Court order. The hearing ended with New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman ruling against protestors, deciding they had not proven they have "a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations."

Protestors were allowed back into Liberty Park by 5:40 p.m. that day under the stipulation that they adhere to park rules, which forbid camping among other things. The park was barricaded on all sides, with police controlling two entrances on either side of the park and checking people's bags before allowing them to enter.

"Good Germans said, 'We only followed orders,'" chanted one group of protestors. "We've been here for a long time. Can you last 60 days out here?" yelled one chanter from the crowd, "Doesn't look like it."

Protestors have planned a day of action for Thursday, Nov. 17. The civil disobedience planned for this day will only be fueled by the police and court actions on Tuesday.