New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly wants people to know that anyone who thinks badly of his department is simply misinformed.
In an interview published Thursday in the Queens Chronicle, Kelly defended both the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics and its spying on members of the Muslim community. He also inisted that the forcible removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park last fall occurred only because they had defied orders to leave and were attempting to push through police lines.
At that point in the interview, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne amplified Kelly’s remarks by stating that that only one actual journalist had arrested during the eviction and that any accounts to the contrary were “a total myth,” which he attributed to protesters having forged press credentials in an attempt to get past police lines.
Gothamist has scrutinized Browne’s claims closely and concludes that they are technically correct — at least if you focus narrowly on the period of several hours during which the parK was being cleared and ignore the aftermath.
“Reporters were forced away to a penned-off area outside of the park, and many credentialed press complied,” the publication explains. “But hours after that eviction ‘operation’ was accomplished, the demonstrations continued—and several reporters were arrested, including AP writer Karen Matthews, photographer Seth Wenig, Daily News reporter Matthew Lysiak, and two reporters from DNAinfo: Patrick Hedlund and photographer Paul Lomax.”
Gothamist also communicated with the consulting director of the New York Press Club, Peter Bekker, who recalled that a spokesperson for New York Mayor Bloomberg had attempted at the time “to downplay the press suppression and arrests during that action by opining in his email that of the 26 reporters arrested, only five were credentialed by NYPD.”