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'Go. Leave. You Can't Be Here': What Happened When I Tried to Investigate the Connection Between the NYPD and Brookfield Properties, Zuccotti's Owners

Why did a police officer declare my reporting "illegal" just days before the pre-dawn raid on the OWS encampment?

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The fact that I was the only person who was chased away from the area, among many others standing around, smoking, talking and even, in one case, eating on a set of stairs next to the building, made it abundantly clear that I was being singled out. It was equally obvious that my reporting was the point of contention and raised questions in my mind about the NYPD’s respect for the Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press.

Days later, the NYPD’s raid on Brookfield’s behalf raised further question marks about its respect for another right enshrined in that same amendment: peaceable assembly.

The NYPD refused multiple requests for information on the legality of reporting from outside Liberty Plaza or any exchange of resources with, special considerations for or relationship with One Liberty Plaza or Brookfield Properties. After the eviction of the occupiers, Brookfield issued a statement avowing support for “all citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” but has yet to explain why actions from its representatives suggest otherwise.

With the NYPD and Brookfield Properties refusing to comment further, it’s impossible for me to know if quid pro quo is at play or if there is some other explanation for the apparent cooperation between the police and the commercial real estate giant. But the opportunity is always there for the New York City Police Department to explain itself. The same goes for Brookfield Properties. Both have my contact information and know how to get in touch.

Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and a senior editor at AlterNet. His latest book is The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Verso). You can follow him on Twitter @NickTurse, on Tumblr, and on Facebook