Why the Police in Michael Premo's Occupy Wall Street Trial Are Unlikely To Face Perjury Charges

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Jon Gerberg via Vimeo
This officer may be pointing a video-camera at the scene of Michael Premo's arrest, but police say they didn't shoot anything that night.
Many of the readers who commented on last week's story about Michael Premo, the Occupy Wall Street protester who beat his criminal charges last week thanks to video evidence, wanted to know: Would the police officer whose testimony was contradicted by the video face any consequences? Would he be charged with perjury?

The short answer is: Don't hold your breath.

But that's not to say that a closer look at Premo's trial doesn't reinforce the impression that the police testimony against him looks a lot like perjury.

In the initial complaint, Premo's arresting officer, Ron Vincent, described a version of events recounted to him by a second officer -- the one who actually handled Premo's physical arrest -- who he referred to as the "informant:"

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Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police Testimony [Updated: VIDEO]

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Facebook
Michael Premo was found not guilty of assaulting an officer after video evidence contradicted police testimony.
In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting the version of events offered by police and prosecutors.

Premo, an activist and community organizer who has in recent months been a central figure in the efforts of Occupy Sandy, was one of many hundred people who took part in a demonstration in Lower Manhattan on December 17 of 2011, when some protesters broke into a vacant lot in Duarte Square in an attempt to start a new occupation.

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New York Post Helps NYPD Slander Occupy Wall Street (Again)

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Facebook
Morgan Gliedman was arrested with Aaron Greene, who the Post incorrectly linked to Occupy Wall Street.
When police raided the West Village apartment of Morgan Gliedman and Aaron Greene on Saturday, the New York Post was first to the story.

It was the sort of story that was right in the Post's wheelhouse. Gliedman, 27, nine months pregnant, the daughter of a prominent doctor and the product of a Park-Avenue-and-Dalton upbringing, and Greene, a Harvard alumnus, caught in a filthy den of drugs, decadence, and bomb-making materials just blocks from the townhouse where Weather Underground bomb-makers accidentally blew themselves up decades before.

The story also had another element that appears to becoming a Post signature: citing anonymous sources, apparently from within the NYPD, Post reporters Jamie Schram, Antonio Antenucci, and Matt McNulty reported that Greene had ties to Occupy Wall Street. The assertion was right up top in the story's lead sentence:

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Occupy Bites Back At Post-Thanksgiving Shopping Hysteria With A New Black Friday

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Last year around this time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent in his force of NYPD officials to Zuccotti Park right before dawn, evicting the original Occupy Wall Street encampment that ignited a movement that would soon spread across the world. A week later, while the protestors reeled from the enforcement, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended upon department stores and Wal-Marts all over the country, stomping each other's faces (and sometimes killing each other) to grab the last piece of half-off Tubberware or whatever. We have all seen the videos.

A point could be made that what Black Friday means to us as a nation of consumers stands as the anti-thesis to most of Occupy's ideals. It's that time of the year to cringe at hyper-capitalism and to gawk at what it can do to us. And, somehow, it comes hours after giving thanks for each other's company at the dinner table.

Well, since its eviction, Occupy has been busy focusing its energy in different ways, many of which have been seen in recent weeks. There's the Rolling Jubilee, a project started by an Occupy offshoot that seeks to buy up and forgive millions of dollars worth in debt; there's Occupy Sandy, the positively-received disaster relief project that has offered aid to victims in the face of government inefficiency; and, now, activists are rolling out their newest event: Occupy Black Friday.

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With the Rolling Jubilee, Debt Activists Strike a Nerve

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Joe Alterio
The Rolling Jubilee's campaign of debt forgiveness begins tonight.
Long before the curtain goes up on the Rolling Jubilee's kick-off telethon tonight, it was clear that the event's organizers have struck a nerve.

The Rolling Jubilee, a project of the debt-activist group Strike Debt, an outgrowth of Occupy Wall Street and the people behind the Debt Resistors Operation Manual, is based on a diagnosis that Americans are struggling under an ever more complex and stifling architecture of student debt, medical debt, credit card debt, and mortgages.

The solution proposed by Strike Debt is based on the biblical institution of a the jubilee, a year in which debts were wiped clean and indentured servants released from their bondage. The Rolling Jubilee will buy debt on the debt market, where it can be had for pennies and the dollar, and then, rather than hounding the debtors for repayment, it will simply forgive the debt.

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Human Rights Body Criticizes U.S. for NYPD's Policing of Occupy Wall Street

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C.S. Muncy
Police manhandling a minor whose shirt was torn off during arrest at a March Occupy protest.
New Yorkers, if they've been paying any attention at all, have known for a long time that the way the NYPD treats journalists and protesters doesn't exactly live up to what you'd expect in a democratic society with a free press.

Now, it looks like the NYPD's actions in relation to Occupy Wall Street have landed the United States in trouble with the international community, as a new report finds the NYPD and other police departments' actions have violated human rights law.

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Filmmaker Threatening Legal Action Over Use Of Occupy Wall Street Footage

When the filmmakers behind 99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film were raising money for their project last fall, they framed their project as an experiment in collective creation that mirrored their subject. As they wrote on their Kickstarter page, "In a process that mirrors the OWS movement itself, 60+ award-winning filmmakers & artists are making a film about it. Together."

Since then, the film has raised more than $20,000 on Kickstarter and won a development grant from the Sundance Institute. But the full extent of the filmmakers' commitment to the radical collectivism of Occupy Wall Street is being challenged by another filmmaker, who has used snippets of their footage in his own work without their permission and is refusing their requests to remove it.

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More Pepper-Sprayed Protesters Sue NYPD

The legal aftermath of of the NYPD's crackdown on street protest over the past year continues to unfold, with another lawsuit filed against the department in federal court.

The most recent suit is filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund on behalf of two protesters, Johanne Sterling and Joshua Cartagena. Sterling was one of the young women kettled and pepper-sprayed by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna on September 24 of last year.

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Occupy Wall Street's Anniversary

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C.S. Muncy
A scene from yesterday's anniversary protests. See the whole slideshow.
For those who have been tracking Occupy Wall Street since its earliest days, yesterday's anniversary often felt familiar to the point of deja vu.

Lower Manhattan was once again transformed into a city under siege, with metal barricades at almost every intersection, police trucks, vans, scooters, horses, and legions of police officers and corporate security.

And when hundreds of people mustered in the early hours of yesterday morning to ring the New York Stock Exchange and protest the widening gulf between rich and poor and the growing control of government, the canyons of the Financial District again rang with drumbeats and familiar chants: "We! Are! The 99 percent!" "Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!"

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Occupy Wall Street One-Year Anniversary Begins With 25 Arrests

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Tomorrow, it will be one whole year since a group of anti-corporatist raiders met for the first time in Zuccotti Park and deemed themselves Occupy Wall Street. Since then, the national explosion of 99-versus-1 Percent politics has had its ups and downs - in New York, Bloomberg's army of police officers shut down the Park in a late night raid but the movement has sprung legs in numerous other cities. 

As the movement began to lose the country's attention, which was slowly shifting towards the election, the original protestors have all but given up, preparing today and tomorrow for the historic one-year anniversary march back down into the heart of the Financial District. And, already, there have been a few arrests in the name of celebratory protest.

Yesterday, the activists who were back in town early convened in Washington Square Park - the  public space in the West Village that became the outpost once Zuccotti had fallen. The Daily News estimated that 200 or so members of the movement showed up underneath the famous Arch and set up shop.
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