Widespread Rights Violations in Policing of Occupy Movement

From a new report by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which includes civil liberties experts from law clinics at NYU, Fordham, Harvard, and Stanford:

[A]cross the United States, abusive and unlawful protest regulation and policing practices have been and continue to be alarmingly evident. This report follows a review of thousands of news reports and hundreds of hours of video, extensive firsthand observation, and detailed witness interviews. In New York City, some of the worst practices documented include:

• Aggressive, unnecessary and excessive police force against peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers, and journalists

• Obstruction of press freedoms and independent legal monitoring

• Pervasive surveillance of peaceful political activity

• Violent late-night raids on peaceful encampments

• Unjustified closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and kettling (corralling and trapping) of protesters

• Arbitrary and selective rule enforcement and baseless arrests

• Failures to ensure transparency about applicable government policies

• Failures to ensure accountability for those allegedly responsible for abuses

These practices violate assembly and expression rights and breach the U.S. government’s international legal obligations to respect those rights. In New York City, protest policing concerns are extensive and exist against a backdrop of disproportionate and well-documented abusive policing practices in poor and minority communities outside of the protest context.

http://www.chrgj.org/projects/suppressingprotest.pdf

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