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A federal judge ruled Thursday that the police did not adequately warn Occupy Wall Street protesters against walking on the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge before arresting about 700 of them in October.
The ruling, by Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, allows a class-action suit filed by protesters to proceed against police officers and commanders involved in the arrests. But the ruling dismissed the mayor, the police commissioner and the City of New York as defendants in the suit, saying that there was insufficient evidence that those parties were responsible for any misconduct by the police.
Judge Rakoff’s ruling addresses one of the most contentious questions to arise during the Occupy protests: did the police wrongly arrest hundreds of protesters by allowing them and even leading them on the roadway only to surround them minutes later with orange netting? Or did the protesters, as the police have maintained, leave the pedestrian walkway for the roadway knowing full well they could end up in handcuffs?
The evidence, Judge Rakoff held, favored the protesters.
“A reasonable officer in the noisy environment defendants occupied would have known that a single bull horn could not reasonably communicate a message to 700 demonstrators,” he wrote, adding that protesters “might infer permission to enter the vehicular roadway from the fact that officers, without offering further warnings, proceeded ahead of and alongside plaintiffs onto that roadway.”
The New York Times, “Judge Rules Against Police in Brooklyn Bridge Arrests” (via inothernews)
brown power at occupy wall street about poc activists working to change the language of the original ows declaration.