NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and his top spokesman, Paul Browne, gave a lengthy, exclusive interview to the Queens Chronicle in which they discussed one of the biggest controversies surrounding the Department in recent months–the arrests of journalists during last November’s raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park. Mr. Browne apparently denied reports of journalists arrested at Zuccotti Park and attributed them to protesters using fake press credentials.
“Paul Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information, who accompanied Kelly to the interview, added that only one journalist was arrested during the operation, despite stories to the contrary, which he called ‘a total myth,’” wrote Chronicle Editor in Chief Peter C. Mastrosimone. “Occupy Wall Street protesters were forging press credentials in an effort to get through the police lines, he added, but that doesn’t mean actual reporters were arrested.”
The Department received widespread criticism for its treatment of journalists during the raid. At the time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s spokesman, Stu Loeser, disputed reports of widespread arrests, but he admitted five credentialed reporters were arrested–three from the Associated Press and two from DNAInfo (for those keeping track, that’s a four hundred percent increase over the number cited by Mr. Browne).
Update (6/8/12 4:36 P.M.): We asked Mr. Loeser and Mr. Browne to explain the difference between their numbers and Mr. Loeser responded and explained to us why he thinks “there’s no discrepancy.”
Update II (6/8/12 6:58 P.M.): The NYPD now says there were actually two reporters arrested during the raid.
Mr. Kelly also addressed two other major NYPD controversies–stop and frisk and the Muslim surveillance program. He said stop and frisk is “saving lives” of “mostly young men of color” and described the Muslim surveillance program as perfectly legal calling the Associated Press’ Pulitzer Prize winning series that brought the issue to light “dangerous” and “unfair.”