Occupy's First Real Trial: Acquitted Thanks to Citizen Journalism!
Some interesting news from the legal front of the Occupy movement: the first photographer arrested at an OWS protest who took his case to trial has been cleared of all charges by a judge. Ironically, the guy wasn't even there to protest: he was there as a photojournalist to document the NYPD's side of the story. Unfortunately for student photojournalist Andrew Arbuckle, his arresting officer didn't care.
The Gothamist's Christopher Robbins reports:
Arbuckle was arrested early New Year's Day around 13th Street and Fifth Avenuefor allegedly blocking traffic during an OWS march. However, Arbuckle's attorneys, Paul Keefe and Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyer's Guild—New York City Chapter,used footage shot by videographer Tim Pool to show that wasn't the case. The arrests occur between the 31:00 and 35:00 marks in the video below.
In fact, the video shows that Arbuckle's arresting officer basically "fabricated her testimony," he said.
In the Village Voice, Nick Pinto spoke to lawyers who argued that the prevalence of citizen journalism means that the NYPD's tactics may get more blowback than they have previously:
Paul Keefe, who represented Arbuckle along with Gideon Oliver, said that the victory in the first Occupy-related protest case is an important indicator that the NYPD is over-policing the movement.
"What's happening is very similar to what happened in 2004 with the Republican National Convention," Keefe said. "It's just a symptom of how the NYPD treats dissent. But what has changed is that there is more prevalence of video. it really makes our job a lot easier to have that video."