An Arresting Day on Wall Street
An Arresting Day on Wall Street
Today’s Spring Training for Occupy Wall Street down at Liberty Square had a little more momentum to it than in previous weeks. A more buoyant crowd, less with the training and more into the let’s go march down to Wall Street. Now! And they did!
But there was something a little off-kilter with the reception down at Wall St. The NYPD were there in more moderate numbers than seemed to be the case from the week before but I imagine a healthy presence from the SWAT team more than made up for numbers. An added bonus to the scene this week was that of Hipster Cop, NYPD Detective Rick Lee.
The action of the afternoon took place around the steep steps of Federal Hall from where one poor sod channeling his inner Hunter S Thompson was taken aside on suspicion of possessing marijuana. Fear and loathing spread in equal measures across those steps as the suspect pleaded innocence to questioning from cops straight from central casting. For The Terminator. He was let go. Eventually.
Less fortunate was the photographer Accra Shepp who has documented the Occupation from the get go with skill, talent and precision from his large format camera. He was never going to be able to get out of the way of that wall of badged blue which sweeps its way down the street in an effort to clear the sidewalk folks, clear the sidewalk! As they funnel the sidewalk into a contained and congested kettled mass. Accra, in custody for at least 12 hours will be fine, but his camera is a piece of true beauty and I am so hoping it is somewhere in safe keeping until Accra is released.
Here are some shots from the day. No cropping, no editing, no enhancing, no time, no energy. True raw!
Shall we go back to the beginning?
Fear and loathing . . .
Against the wall . . .
Faces making way through crowd . . .
The arrest of Accra Shepp
with more to come . . .
And here is . . .Hipster Cop!
Ten people were arrested today. I leave you with a shot from last week, Accra and his camera at work.
….and I used to think UK Police were bad with their use of Section 44, Excuse the pun but they don’t seem to be taking any prisoners, do they.
I suspect there are quotas to fill . . .
Why i hit the like box ? Cause i see your very brave post here Patti that`s what i like not the scene
Excellent work to prevail the truth 🙂
That means so much, thank you Jake.
no flowers for the police
– any irony would be offensive
(I read the hand-written poster)
they forbid even irony, of course –
irony is an effective great weapon!
I just read in the “Devil’s Dictionary” (Ambrose Bierce): “WALL STREET = A symbol of sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven…”
I’ve featured your photo IMG_9064 with a link to your blog at
– together with some statements of Ambrose Bierce
Frizz, I don’t know what to say . . . that could be you, me, anyone beneath that bundle. Anyone can trip and fall in a crowd but no one expects to be arrested for it. Accra Shepp is a respected photographer with an ongoing exhibition of his OWS work.
How to break down the invisible wall of ignorance before we find ourselves on the wrong side without rights?
to blog about is a very good method!
thank you for sharing these documents!
Interesting to see what happens next week, May 1st . . . there was an item on this morning’s National Public Radio about the spring insurgence of OWS here in NYC. Is this the beginning of the trickle?
freedom of speech
The new normal – no pension, no health insurance, no sick leave, no vacation, 40+ hours work week and $12 an hour, take it or leave it, They’ve even got many people into thinking labor unions are evil. Ordinarily I would never think this way but the “dictatorship of the proletariat” stuff sounds more and more reasonable to me.
Listening to Mitt on his campaign trail one would think this all came about as the unfortunate result of Obama’s 2008 election win.
Think this is bad? They just quietly pass bill H.R. 347 on the house floor, and the President has signed it into law. Not quite the same issue, but close enough. Our 1st ammendment rights are going right down the toilet with our 4th amendment rights. In the meantime, our elected officals are making up new laws everyday to relinquish more of our rights (for our protection…wink,wink) and transfering power to themselves. The people better wake u fast, while we have enough rights to fight back with.
Obama Makes Free Speech a Felony ∞ HR 347
Marcy, my understanding of this bill is as clear as mud in that protestors will be restricted to certain areas – ie wherever they happen to be! And under the banner of National Special Security Event – ie any political event!
The bill I posted is a little different from the occupy movement arrests, but with the passing of H.R. 347, the people have lost the right to protest any Politicians (or whomever they appoint to be protected under their guidelines) within their hearing range. That is a big deal, given the fact that our first amendment under our Constitution assures us of a right to speak against a tyrannical Government. I’m sure Obama or anyone he assigns protection to, doesn’t want anyone yelling words like liar, thief, traitor,etc. out from the crowd while they are in the middle of one of their campaign spills, filled with their empty promises. Couple this bill with other measures, taking our 4th Amendment rights away, and the result is a shift in power from the people to the Government. Our leaders are breaking the highest laws of the land everyday, and erasing those same laws in the process. I did not mean to turn your photos and your share into a political debate, but I really do fear for the world. If America loses her Sovereignty, which is a real possibility, with it, we lose what few rights we have left. If America loses her Sovereignty, it will be detrimental to the entire world. The bankers and politicians are leading us into a New World Order. The evidence is everywhere. They don’t, however, want the people to be voicing themselves at political rallies, thus they call ‘free speech’ a threat and outlaw it to their convenience. It is now considered to be a felony (at their discretion, I’m sure). No doubt, our Forefathers are rolling over in their graves.
oh wow, Patti. you are brave to be right in there. thank you for sharing.
Kris, I suspect some people might think I am absolutely stupid for going anywhere near it. Thanks for your company here!
Awesome coverage! Thank you Patti. But, be careful. If you get arrested, do you have someone that can bail you out?
Thank you Theresa! My husband might say he has been bailing me out for years . . .
Powerful, moving shots. Like I was there myself. A mixture of excitement, fear, awe and wonder. Thanks for sharing a piece of the world that a lot of us may not see in person. Thanks for being a source of light….Be safe, take care.
Thank you IT for your generous comment and support. The events snowball so quickly and become very much a part of what happens here in a New York minute!
It’s a brave post from a real brave person. Thanks for giving glimpse of something which many of us are not aware of. Take care.
Arindam, am feeling quite bashful about words of bravery . . . thank you so much for your kind words.
Love the Bush poster. Patti, you are a brave one! Go girl!
This has been a big hit, thanks Heather!
I hope you know how I’ve been enjoying our blog since I discovered it! I know you’re not a new blogger, but I’ve nominated you for a versatile Blogger’s award – I hope you don’t mind? Just wanted to spread the word. Follow this link, I think: http://thewanderlustgene.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/twice-nominated-how-can-that-be/
Ciao for now
Thank you so much WLG! I am way behind this week and looking fwd to catching up and following your very kind link. Again, big thank you!
All that excitement in your photos!
The adrenaline flow, the extreme energy depicted.
It seems like it should be negative.
Somehow your take, your eye, your energy bring positivity and a slight edge of humor.
Annie, if you are heading over this way you must go and take a look!
Yikes! I definetly wouldn’t be up to it!
Be careful out there, Ms. K!
Yikes is the word! As in nothing happens for ages when suddenly out of nowhere . . . thank you SiG for kind caring thoughts!
Take care, Patti.
Some might call me careless. Judith, thank you so much for your most valued support.
Thanks for posting this! My wife and I have been actively following events like this. It is great to have the images as the national news organizations really don’t cover this issue as it should be. Love the top image (-:
Rick, I suspect the whole issue has become a little dreary for mainstream media. Once presented with a new angle then we will all hear all about it. Will that new angle present itself with activities on May 1st? As for that top image, that such a few choice words should say so much! Glad you enjoyed and thank you for your input!
That Bush poster is great!
Sums up the GWB years so well!
It’s heartbreaking to see these pictures. This takes place in a country that brags about being the land of the free – and tries to make the rest of the world believe it’s the most democratic country of them all. It’s just so disgusting. Thanks for keeping the awareness up and let us know what is going on. Your documentations is very important. I hope, too, that Accra’s camera is safe.
Otto, your valued comment has had me thinking for some time on the complexity that is the US which I have heard described in terms of being not only the land of the free but home of the regulated. With the freedom to stretch those regulations beyond random arrests, to a point.
As Tocqueville said “Americans of all ages, all stations of life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations…In democratic countries knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.” Plus ca change . . .
Accra’s camera is safe!
those are some dramatic moments and be safe 🙂
Thank you so much Joshi! I am not sure why it has to be so dramatic . . .
I know we complain about our Metropolitan Police and sometimes they do over do it (as do some of the protesters) but a lot of the time they’re not at all bad. Compared to what you’re showing, they’re very well behaved and usually open to a friendly chat! We had a big protest about photographers rights a couple of years back and it does seem to have made a difference with the Police though not with the private security people who think they are the judge, jury and executioner 😦 The last photo of a policeman I took was rewarded with a thumbs up! But it was at the London Marathon which is a friendly event for all.
Lovely to see a large format camera in use – An Ansel Adams for our time 🙂
One day Martin I will go through my photos in hopes of putting together a narrative of OWS events. I do have some lovely shots of amicable NYPD officers and the protestors are the first to admit that the police are part of the 99% for whom they are fighting. The randomness of the arrests however is perplexing and confusing . . . What happened btw to instigate the protest re-photographers rights? I could look it up on Google but I would much rather hear it from you.
As for that large format camera, it is a rather handsome piece of work, even if it does come in at 30lbs!
A lot of stopping of photographers on the street following some misguided anti-terrorism legislation. The protests resulted in some minor amendments to the law and greater guidance issued to officers by their chiefs.. Here’s one of my personal pre-protest experiences as quoted on Flickr: –
“I have had a minor run in with two PCSO’s. They stopped me beside a synagogue in Hampstead Garden Suburb. I was actually photographing Mutton Brook for a geography project – it just happens to pass beside the synagogue. They apparently needed to make me aware of the heightened tensions in the middle east! I was pleased to be able to inform them that I had photographed the synagogue two years previously. I also asked them if they had looked closely at my coat as I felt sure that the badge on it would set their minds at rest – check out my football photos and you’ll see what I mean;-) I’m generally a cooperative sort of fellow, so I insisted on showing them what I’d been photographing. They promptly suffered information overload and decided to go on their way. Of course, if I had been photographing an Anglican church they probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid – something that their superiors should be held accountable for (preferential policing).
On a happier note, I have to report that the PCSO’s in East Finchley generally seem to do a good job. They’re currently supporting my son’s school by encouraging parents who park on double yellow lines, and across residents driveways in the cul-de-sac that leads to the school, not to do so. And if the parents are uncooperative, they apply commonsense and call in the official council traffic warden to issue tickets.”
The reference to my football photographs refers to the badge of the team I suppport (it’s in the side menu bar of my blog, (complete with a Star of David!) You can check out what caused that comment by going to http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_addison/4299627481/
This all brings out the Victoria Meldrew in me – I don’t believe it!!! But of course I have to believe it. You make a very interesting point regarding preferential policing which only seems to exacerbate any situation. Will be over to Flickr soon Martin to see more detail, thank you for the link. And your comment!
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I enjoyed rereading this post. Intense, exciting, real. The first phots will stop anyone in their tracks. The words of the first image said it all. Thanks for sharing this….just impressive!
Sums it all up rather well doesn’t it! Thank you as always IT!
Marvelous photo essay, Patti! I never covered any of the occupations, not even the one in Toronto. I just wish that the shots that actually made it in newspapers and magazines actually told the story IN DETAIL like yours do here. I double-dare anyone to show me OWS photos as direct as these on the subject in any of the leading news sources. US-originated images like these were much more prevalent in the 60’s, and slightly less common in the 70’s. Don’t take my word for it. Go dig that stuff up, look at them carefully and you’ll see EXACTLY what I mean.
Also, in case anyone would question these images as being onesided, I think any protestor, government official or cop could equally explain the same situation from their respective POV’s and still arrive at the same conclusions. Take a look for yourselves.
I’m still a big believer in good police work in all echelons but I must say that what concerns me about the legal systems in modern Democracies is that they have all become far too dominated by a robotic “processing” agenda. The systems no longer try to truly weed out the “good guys” from the “bad guys”. From the police to the highest courts, the focus is just on rounding everybody up as quickly as possible for “processing” without any legitimate reason. The “Disorderly Conduct” charge for offering a deadly daisy is a prime example; assuming that the placard statement is 100% accurate (no real reason to believe it isn’t either). The arrest of an eye witness photographer; right there in our faces, is another.
None of this made the headlines, and to date no picture in any reputed news source showed this reality. Superb photojournalism–news, history and a message, is right here on this blog page. Go figure!
MOF, thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply with so many good points. I spoke to Accra today who has a date set to appear in court. He was told the charge of “Disorderly Conduct” shouldn’t be a big problem for him but the one of “Resisting Arrest” might be! As you say, go figure!
Being there, in the thick of it, has its own aura of unreality if only because I come away asking myself did all that really happen and why did it have to happen like that? As you say, no good guys, no bad guys, simply targets. And unless you were there or you follow certain internet sights, who would know?
Your very kind words are greatly appreciated, thank you!
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