Why Did the New York Times Change Their Brooklyn Bridge Arrests Story?

NYTBBArrest.jpg
The above photo of juxtaposed screenshots from the New York Times website has been making the rounds on Facebook, and it shows two very different takes for the same story on yesterday's Brooklyn Bridge arrests. The screenshot on the left, from 6:59 p.m., appears to reflect what many protesters are saying: The police tricked them into marching on the bridge. At 7:19 p.m., any mention of the police allowing demonstrators onto the bridge was removed from the lede. Why did they make this change?

We asked City Room Bureau Chief Andy Newman, and he said the following:

At every point yesterday as the story unfolded, we offered the most complete account we could of a large and chaotic scene that could not be grasped by any one person. The earlier version had almost no input from the police. The later version reflected the accounts of the police, protesters and of course our reporters at the scene. The later version, read in its entirety (not just the one highlighted sentence in that photo), reflected the various perspectives much more thoroughly. The final version of the piece was more thorough still.

It's worth noting that one of their reporters at the scene, freelancer Natasha Lennard, was among the over 700 arrested. The original City Room report that Lennard contributed to says that police did in fact allow protesters onto the bridge:

After allowing marchers from the Occupy Wall Street protests to claim the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge and get partway across, the police cut the marchers off and plunged into the crowd and began making arrests around 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

That paragraph is now nowhere in the story. Currently, the only mentions in the piece of police telling protesters they were allowed onto the bridge are in the words of the protesters themselves.

The Times published a post, "Police Gave Warnings at Bridge, Videos Show", that features footage released by the NYPD. They say the clips "show the police issuing two separate warnings to marchers who were either poised to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on its roadway, rather than the pedestrian walkway, or had already begun doing so." Take a look at the videos for yourself:


While the NYPD videos certainly represent the "input from the police," they may raise more questions than they answer. Animal New York's Bucky Turco tweeted that the second video above appears to be edited at the 29-second mark. How much was edited is unknown, but the footage certainly does jump.

Because this is an ever-evolving story, the original City Room piece is subject to change. As of right now, the last update was posted at 1:23 this afternoon. The current text for the story on the site's front page is still, "In a tense showdown on Saturday, police arrested Occupy Wall Street demonstrators after they entered the bridge's Brooklyn-bound roadway."

[@nickgreene][ngreene@villagevoice.com]

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61 comments
JUSt
JUSt

THe protestors have asked themselves one question,"Do We want to change the World?" What is being accomplished is a flick of the light on all issues facing the future. I say FLICKyes...Perhaps the name that they could use is FLICKees.

janecollins
janecollins

my sisters friend makes $50 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her cheque was $6200 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read about it here CashHard.com

Julie Pousson
Julie Pousson

We should all be very afraid.  Through deregulation of our banks and Wall Street, and by constitutional protections meant for people being extended to corporations, America has come under the near-complete control of a handful of oligarchs.  It is not about political party; the ruling elite are fooling one party and slandering the other- but make no mistake- their own interest is the only one they are concerned with.  The fact that the NYPD is now working for JP Morgan Chase is not surprising.  That 4.6 million dollar "donation" earlier this year sealed that. And the mainstream press is corporate spun and dictated.  Conservatives, if you care at all for this Nation, stop screaming talking points and LISTEN.  Banking deregulation..."trickle-down economics"...repeal of Wall Street reforms (which is ongoing!)...all have led us to this mess.  Once more, you are being brainwashed by the corporate-owned media.  These protesters are not against YOU.  They are against the thieves who have fleeced you, and who continue to create false conflict between all of their victims.  WAKE UP.

shoes boot
shoes boot

Everybody knows the New York Times is one of the most liberal papers in the US but as soon as they correct an article to reflect facts that the left doesn't want to hear then suddenly they are the enemy of the left and corrupt?

Kdn0405
Kdn0405

...and a lie becomes the truth. Funny there never is a "name" given for the members of NYPD the caused the inflated prose. Thank you Kaiser Bloomberg!

Polly Tarpley
Polly Tarpley

Big headline!!! We can no longer trust the New York Times for trustworthy and credible reporting. They apparently are taking their instructions from Mayor Blomberg and his police department! What a sad commentary on a once important newspaper

ralphost
ralphost

So now the news changes reports to what the police say instead of what the reporters report seeing with there own eye.

"It's worth noting that one of their reporters at the scene, freelancer Natasha Lennard, was among the over 700 arrested. The original City Room report that Lennard contributed to says that police did in fact allow protesters onto the bridge:

After allowing marchers from the Occupy Wall Street protests to claim the Brooklyn-bound car lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge and get partway across, the police cut the marchers off and plunged into the crowd and began making arrests around 4:15 p.m. Saturday."

Jay Kallio
Jay Kallio

Yes, it is normal for the NYPD to allow people who wish to perform civil disobedience for the purpose of gaining media attention to do so. The civil disobedience and disruption is permitted, and the participants are arrested, with the media photographing it all. It's all basically staged, cinema verite. I don't understand why protesters are then shrieking about it, saying "The big, bad pigs arrested us!". Well, yes, that is what you wanted, right? The NYPD let the people go who did not realize they were walking right into a civil disobedience action that would result in arrest. How much more accommodating can they be? They are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

I notice that the protesters refrained from using their home grown. member driven sound amplification technique of repeating en masse what they person in front is saying, when the NYPD were using a bullhorn to annouce that if they went onto the bridge they would be arrested. Instead the organizers and others who stayed up on the pedestrian walkway chanted louder and louder, "Take the bridge! Take the bridge!" to drown out the police arrest announcement, so the people in back could not hear it. Was that fair to do to those people? It seems to me that the NYPD was being more fair  and honorable toward the protesters that day than the organizers of the protest.

Detroit Al100
Detroit Al100

This is America.  Even the smelliest of hippies should be able to protest.

Jay Kallio
Jay Kallio

To me this is an incredible amount of manufactured drama between the protesters and the NYPD. The protesters had to go to the extraordinary lengths of refusing to cooperate with the one and only request the NYPD made - to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street. Then they had to injure a police officer who was trying to put up a barricade at Union Square, where they were deliberately going out on the street and surrounding cars in order to stop traffic. That area is exactly where the access route for Beth Israel Hospital, which has the ONLY EMERGENCY ROOM serving the entire lower west side (other than going way down to Downtown Hospital), so keeping West 14 St open for ambulances is critical. The protesters insisted on their "right" to stop the flow of traffic, endangering the millions of people who need that street traffic moving, if they have a heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding, and must get to the ER quickly. 

Then the protesters had to verbally provoke the police by threatening to put the officer's home and family private information up on the internet to be targeted for harassment and possibly violence. One officer finally overreacted and pepper sprayed them. They then posted that officer's family information, including his children's names and where they go to school, subjecting them to untold numbers of angry and possibly unstable people who could read it and take matters into their own hands. That family is receiving threatening emails. No better than the right wing who post the home information of abortion providers with a bullseye around them, leading to the gunning down of doctors. This is "peaceful protest"? I strongly suggest the Occupy Wall Street folks, whose main cause I completely agree with, get their act together and be organized and creative enough to confront the Wall Street speculators and financiers who are the problem, not working cops who are still facilitating their protest visibility and disruptive civil disobedience and keeping them safe while they exercise that right.In a liberal democracy the police force is charged with facilitating protests and alternative voices that need to be heard, and protecting their rights to do so. Please stop making up crazy drama, and stop endangering the children of officers who are sworn to protect you. It really looks bad.

IanDalton
IanDalton

The problem is, the police are there to protect the bankers, not the citizens. Why do you think JP Morgan donated $4.6 million to the NYPD last month in anticipation of this? If a police officer pepper sprays innocent women he should be put on blast for it. HE put his family at risk by attacking innocent people. While I do not agree with attacking someone's family, he brought it upon them through his actions, don't blame to protesters.

Jay Kallio
Jay Kallio

JP Morgan made that donation many months ago, not "in anticipation of this". It was made to the police foundation, which then made a grant to the NYPD for laptop computers for patrol cars. The foundation is separate from the NYPD, and the rank and file officers are not informed about where the money comes from, and they hold their own individual views and really couldn't care less about JP Morgan. 

I totally reject that any officer "brings it upon himself" to have his children victimized by people who stereotype him for performing his job. The protesters were screaming threats they would do that internet ambush of posting the personal and family information on the internet to the blue shirt officers at Union Square that day, and the higher ranking officer then went up and pepper sprayed them. I don't excuse his action, but after hearing them threaten his men, who were acting on his orders, I think I get it why he stepped up front, to draw their wrath onto himself, rather than his officers. He will pay with his career for what he did. You can see that the "white shirt" higher ranking officers are doing the arrests themselves, now. To take the heat.

If this protest is about social injustice, I strongly suggest the participants focus on creative ways to make their objections heard. Picking ugly fights with the NYPD in order to gain media attention is counterproductive.

IanDalton
IanDalton

Its a mute point for you to talk about protesters picking "ugly fights" with a police force in the pocket of banking mongols when the NYPD is protecting a group of people who have caused more death, war, and misery to humankind in the past century then any other group of people in history. Whats really the ugly fight?

The statement Anonymous is making by exposing the personal life of a corrupt violent police officer is, following the chain of command does not excuse you from enforcing tyranny. We need police and the army to be marching with protesters, not pepper spraying women in the face because they were emotional and said something harsh while standing behind a barricade. If that man hand an ounce of honor, he would never go out of his way to physically hurt women for saying words, much less put his own family in danger by acting tyrannically while serving a position of authority in the public eye. The police officer in question has a history of violence and of assaulting protesters, fuck him and his wife.

I don't agree with hurting children for their parent's actions. Its about something far bigger then that though. Its about the government, and its officials, and its police realizing, they should be afraid of the people, not the people afraid of their government. Wearing a badge does not give you the right to brutalize human beings and then clock off and go home with a clean slate, as if revolution is a 9-5 thing where we shake hands at the end.

Bankers are murderers and thieves. The people serving them are protecting murders and thieves, and the degradation of human life. I understand that a large number of the NYPD, as well as other police departments, are in support of these protests. Do you think those officers are the ones being targeted? No, they aren't.

Individuals are responsible for their own actions. This very simple truth is something the richest 1% has hidden and cloaked in propaganda. The illusion that, by chain of command and authority, or through the impersonal facade of corporate identity, people are not to be held personally responsible for their actions. This is a lie, and its designed to justify inhumanity of greed and war. He brought this upon his own family through his own actions, just like anyone else who would harm the innocent while defending evil.

tablet pc
tablet pc

The police allowed them to do that. The people wanted to occupy the bridge and the police read something. bureaucratic and unjust.

Then they go from wanting to occupy the bridge and chanting "take the bridge" non-violently, to drum beats and "this is what the people want."

The video was edited....the cops passively let them through, completely unobstructed....before they looked like they were in front of them.

mmdccbslm
mmdccbslm

nytimes, nypost? same paper these days

James Hill
James Hill

Anyone reporting the news from the middle of the protest, should not be arrested, why?  Because we as a people of a so called free country, have a right to see and read the real truth. The American people have been lied to ever since our President John F. Kennedy was assasinated and especially after 911. We have been hoodwincked into believeing that the rich will create jobs over and over again. They LIE!!!   Politicians tell us that the people do not want to raie taxes!!!  They LIE!!!   We want the greey rich to pay there share!!  TRUT!!!  Politicians told us, we need to give jobs to China, because we woud get STUFF CHEAPER!! They LIE!!!  Just think!!  If it is cheap, IT IS REALLY A PIECE OF S----T!!! You will toss it out. The protesters have a right, including reporters getting the truth, and the NYPD are way off base. Where they think they can Pepper Spray and Beat people up, is outragous. The Occupy Wall Street Protest, happens to telling the TRUTH!!!!!

God
God

Guys, if there's a chance of teargas, wear those little "swim goggles", they're pretty much air and water tight. Just saying.

God
God

Guys, if there's a chance of teargas, wear those little "swim gogles". Their pretty much air and water tight. Just saying.

buchino
buchino

SECOND BILL OF RIGHTS

In 1944, FDR proposed a second bill of rights. As opposed to the political rights previously guaranteed (which had proven inadequate), this economic bill of rights would guarantee:

• Employment, with a living wage,• Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies,• Housing,• Medical care,• Education, and• Social security.

After the war, Western Europe and Japan got all these rights. Why didn’t the United States? Now seems like as good a time as ever to demand The Second Bill of Rights.

See more: http://blog.buchino.net/post/1...

mjm
mjm

they'll be swarming in the NYT building soon enough...

Marble Hill Bronx
Marble Hill Bronx

What bothers me, and I've written the NY Times about this, is that I have no problem with them updating the news with a more thorough story as events unfold. But it is completely unethical to keep massaging and changing an already published account. It's pretty simple really: report the news as you know it. And when new evidence surfaces, post another story reflecting the new evidence. But don't go back and manipulate the archives.

Richard_Pietrasz
Richard_Pietrasz

But, rewriting history was official policy for a long time before 1984.

Inoshi
Inoshi

AGREED - that's what's crummy about this fiasco!

red_dragon_hawk
red_dragon_hawk

nuthin like a lil teargas to clear the sinuses...and digestive system....and it seems to me that the police probably gave a sarcastic ......ohh ya you can walk on the bridge....and everyone was so excited that nobody heard the ....but if you do you will be arrested... i can see that happening

but lets face it....tying the bridge up for 20-30 minutes and letting the marchers go thru would have been a lot less bothersome to commuters than however long it took to arrest them(i dont know cause no one has reported that part)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Dear Village Voice:It seems like we might need you guys to be like some kind of...voice...for the people right about now!

Randy.
Randy.

If you engage in protest and put yourself in harms way, and inconvenience other citizens who could care less about your "cause" , expect arrest and quit whining about it. Having been tear gassed a time or two myself, I was amazed at the excessive dramatics of those women who were. While we expect Police to be robots and take all the abuse protesters like to heap on them, the reality is at some point you'll get what you deserve.. and probably several people around you as well.

Barry_D
Barry_D

It's amazing how many alleged leftist protestors say things like "...the reality is at some point you'll get what you deserve.. and probably several people around you as well."

Diogenes
Diogenes

"Having been tear gassed a time or two myself, I was amazed at the excessive dramatics of those women.."   Go into your kitchen, pour Tabasco sauce into your eyes, and then come back here and type me a message about "excessive dramatics".    You won't do it because you haven't got the 'nads.

Miles Pieri
Miles Pieri

Yes, I do expect the Police to 'take the abuse protestors heap on them'. They're paid to be professional, not to pepper-spray people involved in a peaceful protest. I suppose that in your ideal utopian society (which, to most free-thinking individuals, would be some kind of Orwellian dystopia, but I digress), we would all fear and respect the police no matter what unethical and/or illegal tactics they employed?

  Oh, and thanks for singling out 'those women' protestors for their excessive dramatics. Yes, I suppose if they'd only stayed in the kitchen where they belong, they wouldn't have to worry about being tear gassed, would they?

STFu
STFu

Actually the police are paid to protect citizens from people like the protestors.You people really are sheep.

guest
guest

what abuse did the police take? are you stupid? wake up. god your type makes me fucking sick.

Sg4325
Sg4325

Suggest you look at the videos of the march as they enter the traffic area. You can clearly see officers preceding the marchers.

Andrew St. Clair
Andrew St. Clair

What's the conspiracy? A cop says you will be arrested if you go on the roadway and then people are shocked when they are actually arrested. They were told not to go on the roadway and they reacted by chanting "Take The Bridge" and "Whose Streets? Our Streets." NYPD walked ahead of the marchers so they could arrest them once the police vehicles and reinforcements came up from the Brooklyn side. Not a conspiracy.

If anything, the people in the front of the crowd who ignored the NYPD's instructions could have passed it back that going on the roadway wasn't being allowed and that they would get arrested. I guess the "Public Mic" malfunctioned. Either that or they were going to do it regardless.

guest
guest

So therefore marchers think that means they have express permission to break the law?  So we should assume they lost their minds and didn't understand it is illegal to walk in the middle of a roadway on a bridge?  Where is the express permission granted here?  I don't see it.  Not only don't I see it, I see the police giving repeated warnings to get the heck off the bridge or you will be arrested. 

So now there is a conspiracy with the NY Times as well? Lol, ah yeah, their reporter gets arrested and they're going to try to cover up information? People who think that need to understand how newspapers work, and clearly they don't.  Stories are updated all the time with more complete info.  It is good journalism.  

To accuse the police of somehow "tricking" protesters is to suggest that marchers are completely naive and unaware or uncaring of the law.  Oh wai---

Seth Thomas Rasmussen
Seth Thomas Rasmussen

"That paragraph is now nowhere in the story."

This is not true. They buried it in the middle of the article, after the photo of a cop holding a bundle of zip cuffs.

I'm not defending their spin(they rewrote the story to lead with blaming the protesters and mention the cops' role as an afterthought), but let's be clear about what's actually happening.

Jim Dwyer
Jim Dwyer

The revised story doesn't "blame" the protesters, but it doesn't depict them all as hapless sheep led to slaughter; it's beyond dispute that some number at the head of the line knew they faced arrest if they blocked the road The screenshot of the front pages is a lie: cropped to mask that the story fully, fairly and prominently reflected the situation that other protesters found themselves in.So bogus. ---Jim Dwyer

Nick Greene
Nick Greene

A similar paragraph is there, but the part about the police allowing protesters onto the bridge has been attributed to Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He is not mentioned in the original post.

Judy H
Judy H

Unfortunately, Natasha Lennard, by being arrested, became part of the story.  A reporter should not become part of the story, though her role had to be mentioned, in the interests of full disclosure.  Better to let those not associated with the newspaper share their impressions.  The quote in question was more specifically described by the inclusion of the following in the current update of the article:

"Etan Ben-Ami, 56, a psychotherapist from Brooklyn who was up on the walkway, said that the police seemed to make a conscious decision to allow the protesters to claim the road. “They weren’t pushed back,” he said. “It seemed that they moved at the same time.”Mr. Ben-Ami said he left the walkway and joined the crowd on the road. “It seemed completely permitted,” he said. “There wasn’t a single policeman saying ‘don’t do this’.”

I don't see any controversy here.

Barry_D
Barry_D

"Unfortunately, Natasha Lennard, by being arrested, became part of the story.  A reporter should not become part of the story, though her role had to be mentioned, in the interests of full disclosure."

Perhaps her "I'm Not Here, Just Observing" sign was lost in the crowd.

She was there, she saw, she reported.

AnonymousNow
AnonymousNow

Well under your argument, the law enforcement of any oligarchy or corrupt dictatorship has an easy task-- simply arrest the journalists, thereby making them "part of the story."

Pretty soon, only corrupt dictators and oligarchs can report "credibly."

Obviously, the first hand account removed by the NYTimes was the credible account.  What they report now is NYPD influcenced untruth, and not worthy of being considered.

anon
anon

You're an idiot. These days police arrest news people all the time! Why? You may ask. Either to destroy evidence or credibility, unfortunately it works on gullible morons like you. Enjoy you police state!

Jay Kallio
Jay Kallio

It is common practice for the NYPD to facilitate civil disobedience actions for groups wishing to perform CD. At the last civil disobedience action I helped to organize, we negotiated a permit for the march, explained in considerable detail how 20 of us intended to lie down in the middle of Wall Street and block traffic (a "die-in") to attempt to attract media attention to our cause, and they granted us the march permit, erected barricades all along the route, had a motorcycle escort for the smaller downtown streets that could not be cordoned off, had additional traffic officers all stationed around the "die-in" location to make sure we were not run over, allowed significant time for the media to take their photos and get interviews, then arrested our volunteer CDers, and took us in a van to a precinct which had been alerted and prepared with extra staff to process us quickly. At the conclusion of the event one of the highest police officials came over to thank us for what we were doing (a far left wing cause - single payer health care) and express that "we support you and believe in what you are doing".It was all very respectful and cordial, despite all the extra paperwork we imposed on them. Everyone got home in time for dinner. So in my experience the NYPD can and does facilitate protests, including very indulgent accommodations for civil disobedience. Allowing civil disobedience actions is not in the least bit "entrapment". The understanding is that you will be arrested, in the service of your cause.

The NYPD did warn these protesters at the front of the march that they would be arrested if they went onto the roadway, and they were permitted to do that and perform their civil disobedience, got arrested briefly, and got their media attention. If people were at the back of the group and did not hear the arrest warning they were permitted to leave without arrest. How much more accommodating do they expect the police to be? They were greatly inconveniencing countless people who needed the bridge to promote their cause, were given that opportunity, and if people got arrested who did not want to be I have to suggest that the organizers of the event have to do a much better job of warning their participants. Unless, of course, they were just using them.

ih8review
ih8review

The bridge was under construction. Nobody was inconvenienced whatsoever.

Barry_D
Barry_D

"The NYPD did warn these protesters at the front of the march that they would be arrested if they went onto the roadway, and they were permitted to do that and perform their civil disobedience, got arrested briefly, and got their media attention."

Reports from the actual scene indicate that many were not warned.

" If people were at the back of the group and did not hear the arrest warning they were permitted to leave without arrest."

Meaning only the first several hundred, which I guess counts as the front of a crowd.

Cringe
Cringe

wait... that doesn't sound like civil disobedience sounds more like a cop sponsored "look at me I'm a protester." field trip for polite democrats. 

Benjamin Eugene NElson
Benjamin Eugene NElson

Better than actually being hit by a car and dying.

Now let's see where you are out and fighting riot cops Mr radical.

DonBoy2
DonBoy2

The logical conclusion of your argument is that, if the police don't like what a journalist is about to truthfully report, they can just arrest that journalist, who then is supposedly bound by ethics not to report what they just saw.

Andrew St. Clair
Andrew St. Clair

If you actually read her account, you'd know that she didn't have a press badge. Unless she told them, they would have no reason to know who she was.

DonBoy2
DonBoy2

I wasn't saying that the police consciously did that in this particular case; my point was that the logic of "being arrested disqualifies you from reporting" leads there.

Barry_D
Barry_D

Pretty much the right-wing line, and there's an awful lot of 'centrists' who'd agree.

thingwarbler
thingwarbler

"if the police don't like what a journalist is about to truthfully report, they can just arrest that journalist" -- Exactly.  Which is of course also the logic behind the knee-jerk police reaction to countless citizen videos capturing police officers clearly breaking the law. Instead of an increased level of self-regulation and training of officers who clearly don't get the rules of engagement (but could get away with violating those rules when nobody was watching), we've now seen the police lash out and arrest those who dare to photograph or videotape officers. It's all about stopping the message, not changing the reality.

Betony
Betony

I agree in part, but the arrest of a member of the press *covering* the event is a pretty darn big story, in and of itself--whether Ms Lennard sought out arrest in order to cover the story from the detainees' perspective, or on the important point that we are supposed to have a free press in this country.  (I know, that's a whole 'nother thread.)  Stifling news coverage by arresting and detaining the reporters is unconstitutional and is worthy of protest.

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