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Arrests of reporters at Occupy Wall Street eviction ‘a total myth’ says NYPD

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New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants people to know that anyone who thinks badly of his department is simply misinformed.

In an interview published Thursday in the Queens Chronicle, Kelly defended both the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics and its spying on members of the Muslim community. He also inisted that the forcible removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park last fall occurred only because they had defied orders to leave and were attempting to push through police lines.

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At that point in the interview, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne amplified Kelly’s remarks by stating that that only one actual journalist had been arrested during the eviction and that any accounts to the contrary were “a total myth,” which he attributed to protesters having forged press credentials in an attempt to get past police lines.

Gothamist has scrutinized Browne’s claims closely and concludes that they are technically correct — at least if you focus narrowly on the period of several hours during which the parK was being cleared and ignore the aftermath.

“Reporters were forced away to a penned-off area outside of the park, and many credentialed press complied,” the publication explains. “But hours after that eviction ‘operation’ was accomplished, the demonstrations continued—and several reporters were arrested, including AP writer Karen Matthews, photographer Seth Wenig, Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak, and two reporters from DNAinfo: Patrick Hedlund and photographer Paul Lomax.”

Gothamist also communicated with the consulting director of the New York Press Club, Peter Bekker, who recalled that a spokesperson for New York Mayor Bloomberg had attempted at the time “to downplay the press suppression and arrests during that action by opining in his email that of the 26 reporters arrested, only five were credentialed by NYPD.”

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“The New York Press Club, to say the least, is disappointed in what this kind of official equivocation suggests about the significance to the mayor and police commissioner of a free press,” Bekker added.

The mayoral spokesperson has now written to Gothamist to clarify his email of last fall by explaining that although there were 26 arrests of journalists that day, they included some that occurred many hours after the eviction or even in other cities.

Gothamist, however, has continued to update its story with accounts of journalists — mainly freelancers and bloggers — who either say they were arrested that night or whose arrests were witnessed by protesters.

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In response to the controversy, journalist Josh Stearns has created a Storify page which documents the arrests of eleven journalists in New York on the day of the eviction.

“After becoming the epicenter for press suppression and journalist arrests over the last nine months, the NYPD is trying to rewrite history and pretend like nothing ever happened,” Stearns writes.

“Embedded in Paul Browne’s comments to the Queens Chronicle is a troubling statement about the First Amendment,” he comments. “Mr. Browne believes that it is the role of the NYPD to decide who is an ‘actual reporter.’ … Some of the people arrested last November didn’t have NYPD press credentials, but they had press badges on and were working for well established outlets like the New York Daily News, Vanity Fair, Agence France-Presse, and TV New Zealand. Even so, recent court cases and statements from the Department of Justice have made clear that as we enter an age of participatory media making, the protections of the First Amendment extend to all people.”

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Photo by Jagz Mario via Flickr


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New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion

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New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.

Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.

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Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."

Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.

Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.

Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.

Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!

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‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener

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Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."

"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.

"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.

She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."

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