NYPD clears Occupy Wall Street compound, 70 arrested; Update: Judge issues restraining order reopening park; Update: Bloomberg keeping park closed until TRO is “clarified”

posted at 8:40 am on November 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

How big of a story has Occupy Wall Street become? ABC’s New York affiliate sent three reporters to Zuccotti Park on the ground and a fourth in the air for an eight-minute broadcast report on its end — or at least its temporary end.  The owners of Zuccotti Park finally decided to clear the grounds for a long-delayed “cleaning,” which given the state of the protesters over the last couple of months, might take a good long while to complete:

The NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park of protesters early Tuesday, with at least 70 people arrested as the demonstrators were forced out of their longtime encampment in Lower Manhattan. However, they’ve been told they can return once the park has been cleaned.

According to Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne, at least 70 people were taken into custody as the park was cleared.

The final group of protesters to be removed from the park, about a dozen people, was chained to each other and to trees.

Don’t worry about the trees; the NYPD brought power saws but cut through the chains, which can’t have been pleasant for those who chained themselves to the trees. Otherwise, this operation appears to have been as quiet as possible, under the circumstances. The NYPD chose to clear the park in the middle of the night to reduce the potential for confrontation, and despite the 70 or more arrests, that seems to have succeeded.

One woman calls this move “unexpected,” but it did not come entirely without warning. About an hour or so before the police cleared the park, they distributed notices of eviction. The mayor’s office put out word that campers in the park would have to leave. They will be allowed back once Zuccotti Park is rendered healthy enough for use, but Mayor Bloomberg warns that park rules will be enforced from now on:

Bloomberg says protesters will be allowed back in the park after it is cleaned. But he says protesters will not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags, or tarps and will have to follow all park rules.

He says the law that created Zuccotti Park required that it be open for the public to enjoy for passive recreation 24 hours a day.

Since the Occupy Wall Street protesters took it over almost two months ago, he says it has not been available to anyone else.

Protesters insist that “you can’t evict a movement whose time has come.” So far, it looks as though the NYPD can. I’d guess that Brookfield will need at least a week to clean and recover Zuccotti Park, and with winter approaching, I’d bet that the Occupy movement will fade back into well-deserved obscurity.

Update: Hey, you thought that private property owners could evict squatters after two months of allowing them to vent their incoherent political frustrations?  Not in New York City, pal (via JWF):

A New York judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order allowing protesters to return to Zuccotti Park only hours after police forcibly removed them, arresting dozens.

The order by Justice Lucy Billings set a hearing date for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and said that until the matter was considered at that hearing, the city and Brookfield Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park, would be prohibited from evicting protesters or “enforcing ‘rules’ published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.”

It was not immediately clear what effect the order would have on the protesters meeting in nearby Foley Square. Some had advocated returning to the park.

Er … okay.  If the judge wanted to schedule a hearing for just a few hours later, why bother with the restraining order?  After all, keeping the park closed for a brief period of time wouldn’t do any harm to the plaintiffs (the squatters) in this case; they could return at 1 pm instead of 7 am if the ruling went against the owners of Zuccotti Park.  On the other hand, forcing the park’s reopening and then allowing Brookfield to close it again will cause a significant amount of harm to the property in question, as well as to the police who have to conduct a second sweep to clear the park.  And those are just the practical arguments against such an order.  It’s absurd for a judge to argue that the owners of private property can’t evict squatters who refuse to leave ever.

Somehow, I’d guess that the NYPD will find many delays in implementing this order.

Update II: Via the Right Scoop, Mayor Bloomberg announced in his press conference this morning that the city would keep Zuccotti Park closed until the temporary restraining order could be “clarified” so that police know which rules to enforce.  That’s about what I figured would happen.

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Ramirez Editorial Cartoons
http://news.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=591663

Which one is closer to 99% of America?

Chip on November 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM

A couple of additional thoughts. The order is dated today and actually has a handwritten time of 06:30 AM. so the judge was apparently rousted early. I also don’t see any file stamps. Exactly how did plaintiffs get a case filed that early? Electronically? How does the judge have jurisdiction if the case isn’t filed with the clerk? And did plaintiffs pick this judge to ask for relief because they knew what she would do?

Anyone familiar with NY law? Don’t they have a random filing system to prevent forum shopping as most jurisdictions? Will the case be assigned to a judge chosen by the system shortly? Does NY offer respondents an automatic change of venue from the judge?

I suspect the judge knows that order she signed isn’t worth the paper it is written on. That is why she set it for hearing immediately, so she could conduct a “hearing” to elicit the “evidence” necessary to justify an order. Hop, hop, hoppity-hop!

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Past time for NYC to clean their house. I would bring this judge up on charges of judicial misconduct, the punishment would be disbarment.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Megadittos. An appeal is not enough. Charge her and press it until she’s disbarred. If we roll over for crap like this, we are fools.

petefrt on November 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM

IowaWoman on November 15, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Yeah, that guy. Just noted the name and wondered if there was a family connection. This one would be right up old Bill’s alley.

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Wow. Biggest story in months (except for the Penn State scandal) and only 80-some comments? Is everybody sleeping in today? :-)

UltimateBob on November 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM


It’s getting redundant
. Left wing lunatics poop on civilization, the media lives vicariously through them, the authorities under-react to leftist Bedlam, and when they finally get fed up and do something, an activist judge busts out a pre-written illegal injunction in an effort to enforce insanity.

forest on November 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM

One more thing, you are always taking a risk if you defy a court order. Being held in contempt can be serious, as in jail serious. Not to mention getting yourself on the wrong side of the judge. But if Bloomberg is choosing to ignore the order until it is clarified, I guessing his lawyers told him the order was so flawed that the judge wouldn’t dare try to enforce it by contempt, and would instead hold her marsupial hearing and then issue an order that was at least valid on its face.

That is the order that will present problems if they ignore it. Expect an immediate emergency appeal and request for a stay if she issues another TRO. I wouldn’t be surprised if this woman gets slapped down on appeal just like a judicial jackass from Wisconsin.

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Chip on November 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM

You beat me. ;-)

pambi on November 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if this woman gets slapped down on appeal just like a judicial jackass from Wisconsin.

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM

She has already over reached her authority – next she get’s made an example of it’s that simple. Money is involved here BIG Money Wall Street Money and PR. I am guessing the billionaire Bloomberg knows lots of folks with deep pockets like himself, that are bankers and such involved with Wall Street. This judge thinks she’s got the balls to take on Wall Street big money, and all their political influence, let her go for it. I’ll start popping the pop corn.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:53 AM

It’s getting redundant. Left wing lunatics poop on civilization, the media lives vicariously through them, the authorities under-react to leftist Bedlam, and when they finally get fed up and do something, an activist judge busts out a pre-written illegal injunction in an effort to enforce insanity.

Nailed it.

jennifernaz on November 15, 2011 at 11:54 AM

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Good info. Thanks.

petefrt on November 15, 2011 at 11:57 AM

The Blaze and Michelle Malkin are reporting that Judge Lucy Billings has been yanked off the case.

SandyToes on November 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Perception trumps Reality, and Commerce trumps both.

That’s the formula. If this hacktivist judge wants to throw herself into the public perception grinder, it’s a free country. It’s interesting that she can’t figure out how this is going to effect her own self interest. I bet she’s been getting phones calls cluing her in :)

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

The Blaze and Michelle Malkin are reporting that Judge Lucy Billings has been yanked off the case.

SandyToes on November 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

No doubt for the common good LMAO.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

As others have noted, Billings is off the case. Court administrators will use the regular random filing method to choose a new judge, and her name will NOT be included in the list.

MM is also reporting that the plaintiffs’ lawyers did indeed seek out Judge Billings, and she actually came to them to sign the order at 6:30 am. Her biases were obviously well known to those lawyers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had made arrangements with her well in advance.

This stunt may cost these clowns dearly, if there is a decent judge selected. A good judge won’t like the idea that these lawyers were working the system with the assistance of a cooperative judge.

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Part of the reason Rudy Giuliani pursued John Gotti and other mafia cronies on a federal level in New York City is the same reason Elliot Ness pursued Capone and other mafia on the federal level in Chicago.

It wasn’t a question of whether or not the NY City and State judges were on the take and ruled accordingly or whether or not the Chicago city and IL state judges were on the take and ruled accordingly it was a matter of prosecution bypassing those crooked judges entirely. Hack Judge Lucy isn’t merely another lawless gavel slammer she’s obviously doing her best to uphold that fine NYC tradition of “honest” politicians in robes who stay bought.

viking01 on November 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

According to the Blaze Trinty Church supports the OWS movement.

Trinity Church (also known as Trinity Wall Street) at 79 Broadway, Lower Manhattan, is a historic, active parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Trinity Church is at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, in New York.

Does this mean that the Episcopalians agree with Adbusters and it’s OWS movements Antisemitism?

Bombshell! Is OWS based in anti-semitic Adbusters, 99 and wallstreet code for anti Jews protest?

The Blaze is reporting that Trinity Church allows OWS to use their facilities.
Is this the Episcopalian leadership stance on antisemitism? It’s okay we are down with it?

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 12:58 PM

They changed the world for the better! God bless their putrid-smelling little hearts.

/puke

John the Libertarian on November 15, 2011 at 1:03 PM

There is bound to be some sort of quarantine law the police and health department can enforce given the tuberculosis outbreak amongst the Occupy Atlanta vermin. Suggest that any are welcome to return after spending a six month quarantine after delousing and complete physical examination, purely at personal expense, on an obscure corner of Ellis Island. In the interest of public safety, of course.

viking01 on November 15, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Brookfield Properties should also be permitted to charge a prime hotel rate of any squatters residing upon their property. When the hippie wannabe vermin wanting everything for free realize an out of pocket expense typical of high-rent Manhattan they may decide to screw up someplace else.

viking01 on November 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM

NY Daily New story linked by MM has a little different story. The report (as I suspected) there is a way to file emergency cases after hours, which the OWS lawyers called after they had already contacted Billings, and were allegedly told to go ahead and go to Billings because she had already been contacted. I’m guessing that, if true, this was a lower level employee answering the phone, unwilling to awaken judges in the middle of the night and taking the path of least resistance. Supposedly, the OWS lawyers did contact NYC attorneys, but it isn’t surprising they didn’t choose to go to Judge Billings home to for a kangaroo stomp. Once everyone got to work and figured out there what she was up to, Billings was cut off at the knees. I bet that call from the Chief Judge to the clerk’s office was interesting.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/judge-lucy-billings-signed-occupy-wall-street-order-aclu-veteran-article-1.977725

novaculus on November 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

If this piece of work federal judge lived next door to Zuccotti Park, she’d have ruled quite differently. She’s letting this go on because it’s not in her back yard. Got nothing to do with the law.

What a disgrace this is to our great country.

FlatlanderByTheLake on November 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

FlatlanderByTheLake on November 15, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Actually you are being too kind to the hack judge. She is doing this because she resents the law, the rights of Brookfield Properties and legitimate business tenants and thus wishes to legislate from the bench to harm them.

viking01 on November 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Here’s a little #occupy fun for you all:

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: #OCCUPY PROTESTER DEFECATES IN PUBLIC STREET

The guy doesn’t even wipe when he’s finished.

Nice bunch of people, huh?

UltimateBob on November 15, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Watching the “Global Revolution” live stream right now on the NYT blog. Right next to the live stream is an ad for Bank of America. LOL
What a country!

Hummer53 on November 15, 2011 at 1:41 PM

they should have evicted them from the beginning- how many months has it been? the problem is the owners and authorities of their own accord let them stay, bloomberg implied they could stay as long as they wanted which they interpreted as forever apparently. well at least a decade. because they let them evade the rules of the park for so long there are real legal complications to removing them due to the actions of the park owners.

i know if you let someone sleep on your coach for an extended period of time they can be considered tenants in your apartment and trouble to remove no matter what they do.

this is what you get when you ignore the rule of law for some people but not others( actual homeless people who’d never be allowed tents on the common, tea party people who would never be allowed to protest for months without permits ). this is the hope and change you were promised.

not happy?

mittens on November 15, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Let ‘em stay until every small business in the area closes its doors. Let ‘em stay until there is a cholera epidemic. Obama owns this crap – literally – now. OWS is a metaphor for what Democrats are doing to America.

There might have been some justification for city authorities moving slowly the first day or two. But very early on, the City needed to serve notice on the Park owners: you are responsible for everyone’s damages if you allow this to go on; the lost revenues to local businesses, the lost tourism to the City, the police and rescue overtime charges. Either clean it up and conform with your own rules, or pay up.

My hunch is the go-ahead to the cops would come swiftly. They could go in, crack a few hippy skulls, and have the place cleaned up in an hour.

Instead, they play patty-cake for weeks and NOW they act? Who gives a rat’s patootie? I’m not going to NYC. Let ‘em stew in their own excrement.

Adjoran on November 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

This operation would have been so much simpler with a few well placed mortar rounds.

infidel4life on November 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM

It’s breaking on Twitter that OWS can go back in with tents and all. You just have to laugh. Or cry. Or both.

jennifernaz on November 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

OK, scratch previous post. No ruling yet.

jennifernaz on November 15, 2011 at 3:47 PM

It’s breaking on Twitter that OWS can go back in with tents and all. You just have to laugh. Or cry. Or both.

jennifernaz on November 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Good. This is Obama, the democrats, Big Labor, and an activist ACLU judge against the American people. The best thing for GOP prospects right now is to let this simmering pile of sh!t fester, and let Obama own it.

Rational Thought on November 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

To borrow a phrase from Democratic Party spokesman Bill Maher, “At some point these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves.”

Logboy on November 15, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Michelle Malkin is reporting that the loony ACLU “judge” who tried to get the protesters — and their piles of sh!t — back into the park has been ordered off the case. Hmmmm…

Rational Thought on November 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

According to the Blaze Trinty Church supports the OWS movement.

The Episcopal Church that many of us grew up in disappeared 30 years ago, taken over by rich New England elitists still held in thrall to the 1960′s Marxist/Progressive ideologies of their youth.

Even though I consider myself an agnostic now, it still hurts me to see what has become of my old friend.

JFS61 on November 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

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