U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a investigation of the NYPD and law enforcement outlets in other cities "to determine whether the unlawful use of force, or the unlawful targeting of individuals based on their participation in constitutionally protective activities, occurred." Nadler specifically cites the alleged kettling "trap" on the Brooklyn Bridge, the handling of the eviction of Zuccotti Park on November 15, and the alleged monitoring of protesters sleeping in churches by the NYPD. “Our law enforcement officers have a duty to protect our health and safety, but that duty must always be discharged with respect for the fundamental First Amendment rights to free expression and peaceful assembly."
Nadler also cites the reports that "the NYPD aggressively blocked journalists from reporting on the incident, and in some cases, targeted journalists for mistreatment." He also repeats the claim that "the City reportedly close the airspace above the area in order to prevent news helicopters from recording the actions."
Erika Fry, an editor for the Columbia Journalism Review, reported that the FAA alone has the authority to close the city's airspace, and the NYPD sent her the following email: "NYPD CANNOT , AND DID NOT CLOSE AIR SPACE. ONLY FAA CAN DO THAT. NO INDICATION IT DID."
This doesn't mean that the NYPD didn't tell CBS and NBC to move out of the airspace—police often suggest journalists follow instructions that they aren't required by law to obey. Although NBC noted that there was a "misunderstanding" about what their pilot heard, CBS hasn't issue a retraction. And what exactly what "misunderstood?" Perhaps Attorney General Holder is our only hope for determining if the NYPD actually did order news choppers away from Zuccotti Park. We await tomorrow's 9 a.m. press conference in the Rose Garden with bated breath.