More Occupy Wall Street Cases Dismissed [UPDATED]

NYPDBull.jpg
Officers and NYPD barricades guarding the Wall Street Bull on May 1st.
More than eight months after the NYPD began arresting people taking part in Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, the first of hundreds of criminal cases trickling through the court system are finally coming up for trial.

Earlier this month, we told you about the first two cases to go to trial. In both cases, the defendants were acquitted of all charges after photographic and video evidence contradicted the signed arrest reports and sworn court testimony of their arresting officers.

Two weeks later, prosecutors still have yet to secure a conviction in an Occupy-Wall-Street-protest-related case. [Update: The Manhattan District Attorney's office points out that it has won convictions in a protest case involving Occupy Wall Street: On May 4, 20 protesters, including Cornell West, were found guilty of disorderly conduct for blocking an entrance to a police station during an October demonstration against the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. Occupy Wall Street was among the groups that endorsed the demonstration.]

Last Wednesday, a judge threw out the case against Marni Halasa, the Occupy Wall Street "Freedom Fairy," finding that the police write-up didn't actually show a crime or a violation.

The next day, another criminal case in which video evidence on YouTube appears to contradict the police version of events was set for trial, but the case was continued because the police witness failed to show.

Yesterday Sarah Maceda-Maciel, charged with blocking traffic and failing to follow police orders on November 17th, also had her case dismissed, after the police witness again failed to show. In this instance, apparently, the officer is on maternity leave.

A second case scheduled for trial yesterday was continued. Emmet Kavanaugh and his legal team were ready, and were under the impression that the prosecutor was too. But the police witness didn't come to court, so Kavanaugh, who lives in Philadelphia, will have to come back to court in late October.

While many Occupy protesters feel vindicated by the string of victories, others see the rulings as evidence that the NYPD never made the arrests with any intention of securing convictions.

This morning marks the largest group of Occupy Wall Street cases to come to trial. Twenty-two cases, consolidated into four trials, will be heard in Jury Part 7, the special section of New York City Criminal Court created just to handle the glut of Occupy-related cases. All the charges in today's cases stem from the first instance of mass arrests used against the movement on September 24th of last year -- the same day Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna sprayed pepper-spray in the faces of peaceful demonstrators kettled by police nets.

We'll be in court watching the trials, so check back for a report on the outcome.

Previous Coverage:

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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11 comments
Marni Halasa
Marni Halasa

As the Occupy Wall Street Unofficial Freedom Fairy (who also happens to be a lawyer), Mr. Pinto's research of dismissed cases clearly shows that the NYPD is primarily interested in harassing protesters.  In my situation, police had told me that I was allowed to skate, and I had been skating for a good half-hour until they slapped me with a summons for impeding pedestrian traffic.  A loose-knit group of protesters had arrived from a march from Union Square to Zuccotti Park and I had gone to greet them.  The sidewalk was not crowded.  I was in no way obstructing traffic of any nature.  And I was in complete control, gliding on skates in costume, with the wind under my wings.  And although this made for entertaining conversation with friends and Facebook, the reality is that I had to take off work, lose income, worry about paying a hefty fine and be terribly inconvenienced to appear in court. The NYPD may think that such behavior can't be helped, just an involuntary byproduct of police work, but it is not.  It is a clear abuse of power from a government that is fearful of a strong social, economic and political message that could actually effect change.  Just like the ignorant bullies on the playground, the police are just another extension of that mindset, blindly trying to assert themselves, trying to quell those who have unique ideas that challenge the status quo.  Well, this Freedom Fairy sees the light.  Stand up New York!  Examine what is in front of you and don't let them clip your wings.  They tried to clip mine.

neorealist
neorealist

Even if the criminal charges have been dismissed against Occupy protesters, the powers that be have achived a larger goal of discouraging a lot of working people who agree with Occupy from participating in lawful protest for fear of similar police state consequences and by doing so, empowering the movement for change even more.

Rixar13
Rixar13

Two weeks later, prosecutors still have yet to secure a conviction in an Occupy-Wall-Street-protest-related case.

Buest
Buest

So when do the suits for false arrest and the criminal charges for official misconduct start?

Jason Thompson
Jason Thompson

 Freedom fairies are annoying. Go fly into a light or something.

Anymouse
Anymouse

What a conspiracy theory! Next you'll be telling me that police just arrested these people on trumped-up charges and trusted they couldn't afford a good lawyer.

...waitaminute...

riseup
riseup

the mayday nyc march--estimates ranging from 20 to 30 thousand- puts the lie to your argument. The press just got bored when there was no more beatings and rounding up of photo-journalists. 

Skittles4trayvon
Skittles4trayvon

good guy zimmerman hasnt been convicted either re that GHETTO THUG TRAYVON.

gumby
gumby

Shouldn't you be out pa-trolling elsewhere, officer?

Skittles4trayvon
Skittles4trayvon

suck my nightstick.

they dont call you and your mama gumby for nothin.

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