A federal judge has determined that Brookfield Properties cannot be sued by protesters and journalists for its involvement in the raid that cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in 2011.
Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that because the NYPD and City Hall were the primary decision makers involved in the raid, Brookfield could not be held responsible for the manner in which citizens were forcibly expelled from the public park, out of sight of the media. The City and the NYPD remain defendants in the suit. Protesters, journalists, and four city councilmembers filed the federal complaint last spring, alleging that their constitutional rights were violated in the raid.
It's worth noting that Brookfield and the City worked very closely (and presumably still do) to erect barricades and enforce regulations of dubious legality on what citizens can bring into Zuccotti Park. Zuccotti is open to the public 24 hours a day as part of an agreement the company made with the City in order to obtain valuable zoning concessions.
A memo to Brookfield's privacy security force obtained last year refers to former NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, noting that he signed off on the byzantine regulations—which prohibit large bags, yoga mats, containers of liquid, musical instruments, etc—and instructed that they be "enforced with zero tolerance."
Civil rights attorney Jethro Eisenstein told the Times last year that if Brookfield wanted to create new rules for the public park, it had to first go to the City's Planning Commission. “They surely don’t have the right to secretly make rules and then get the NYPD to enforce them."
In April, the City agreed to pay $233,349 and acknowledge that the People's Library was destroyed during the November 2011 raid of Zuccotti Park. That figure includes $186,349 in attorneys fees.