Jumaane Williams Asks City Council to Condemn Bloomberg's Occupy Wall Street Raid

Councilman Jumaane Williams (Photo: Facebook)

Councilman Jumaane Williams submitted a resolution today asking the City Council to condemn Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of the raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park.  “The decision by the Bloomberg Administration to undertake a police action in the early hours of the morning to forcibly remove residents of New York City, New York State and involved citizens who have traveled far and wide to join the OWS movement from Liberty Plaza since the occupation commenced was excessive and poses a threat to our civil liberties,” wrote Councilman Williams in the resolution. “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Council of the City of New York condemns the overly aggressive actions of the Bloomberg Administration that were used to evict the Occupy Wall Street protestors that occurred in the predawn hours of November 15, 2011.”

Councilman Williams’ resolution notes that nearly 200 people were arrested including Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and several reporters. He also highlighted the destruction of property that occurred during the raid.

“Those protestors who resisted the efforts to clear out the park that began at roughly 1:00 a.m. were met by NYPD in riot gear with batons,” Councilman Williams wrote. “The destruction of the encampment that the OWS members had created at the park resulted in the seizure and possible damage to more than 5000 books that made up the ‘People’s Library’ at the park, along with the seizure and breakage of many tents, tarps, backpacks, shoes, computers, various equipment and other possessions.”

At today’s meeting, Councilman Williams’ resolution was referred to the Committee on Public Safety for further review. Councilman Williams is currently working on getting more Council members to sign on to the resolution.

Councilman Williams is a staunch supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was present during the NYPD raid on Zuccotti Park, and two days later, he was arrested while participating in an act of civil disobedience to protest the eviction. Last month, Councilman Williams was one of the first City Council members to sign on to a resolution expressing support for the occupation.

Councilman Williams is also a strong critic of the NYPD. In September, he was arrested after getting into a dispute with a police officer while trying to cross a barricade at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. Three officers involved in his arrest were subsequently disciplined last month. Since the Labor Day incident, Councilman Williams has spoken out about a variety of issues involving police conduct including the department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy and incidents of corruption.

Earlier this month, Councilman Williams and Kirsten John Foy, an aide to public advocate Bill de Blasio who was also arrested during the incident at the parade, sent Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to get together for a beer and “discuss police accountability.” At the Occupy Wall Street protest in Duarte Square this weekend, Councilman Williams told The Politicker he hasn’t received a response from City Hall or One Police Plaza yet.

“Technically, we didn’t necessarily request a beer. We more wanted to sit down with some black and Latino–particularly young men, who deal with this so we could discuss the issues,” Councilman Williams said. “But no, we haven’t heard back from them yet.”

Read the full text of Councilman Williams’ Occupy Wall Street raid resolution below.

 

Resolution condemning the overly aggressive actions of the Bloomberg Administration that were used to evict the Occupy Wall Street protestors that occurred in the predawn hours of November 15, 2011.

By Council Member Williams

Whereas, On Tuesday, November 15, 2011 in a predawn sweep, members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) forcibly evicted the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters from Liberty Plaza, also known as Zuccotti Park, where the OWS movement began on September 17, 2011; and

Whereas, Excessive force appears to have been used to disrupt the peaceful protests and passive behavior of many OWS members during the eviction which included the arrest of Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez; and

Whereas, The NYPD’s inability to differentiate between civilians that pose a harm to the public and those that do not is disquieting; and

Whereas, Those protestors who resisted the efforts to clear out the park that began at roughly 1:00 a.m. were met by NYPD in riot gear with batons; and

Whereas, The destruction of the encampment that the OWS members had created at the park resulted in the seizure and possible damage to more than 5000 books that made up the “People’s Library” at the park, along with the seizure and breakage of many tents, tarps, backpacks, shoes, computers, various equipment and other possessions; and

Whereas, Mayor Bloomberg has stated that his decision to move to evict the OWS protesters was not intended to hamper their constitutional rights of speech and expression; and

Whereas, Reporters, journalists and photographers from the Associated Press, the Daily News, National Public Radio (NPR) and the New York Post and other press entities were prohibited from covering the eviction of protestors and were in some cases arrested themselves; and

Whereas, According to the New York Times, the Police Commissioner stated that nearly 200 people were arrested, 142 in the park and 50 to 60 in the streets nearby; and

Whereas, According to Mayor Bloomberg, his decision to evict the OWS occupation was based on public health and safety concerns for the protesters and the surrounding community; and

Whereas, The decision by the Bloomberg Administration to undertake a police action in the early hours of the morning to forcibly remove residents of New York City, New York State and involved citizens who have traveled far and wide to join the OWS movement from Liberty Plaza since the occupation commenced was excessive and poses a threat to our civil liberties; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York condemns the overly aggressive actions of the Bloomberg Administration that were used to evict the Occupy Wall Street protestors that occurred in the predawn hours of November 15, 2011.

 

 

Jumaane Williams Asks City Council to Condemn Bloomberg's Occupy Wall Street Raid