[UPDATE BELOW] Although it's widely thought that cops arrested reporters while they were evicting the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park last November, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says anybody who believes that probably also thinks Bigfoot was abducted by aliens as part of the government's 9/11 coverup. "A total myth," is how Browne described that notion during an exclusive interview with the Queens Chronicle:

[NYPD Commissioner Ray] Kelly also said the NYPD was unfairly criticized over its removal of protesters from Zuccotti Park last year, saying the people who were arrested had defied legal orders to leave the park and were pushing through police lines after monitoring department radios to learn what officers were planning.

Paul Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information, who accompanied Kelly to the interview, added that only one journalist was arrested during the operation, despite stories to the contrary, which he called “a total myth.” Occupy Wall Street protesters were forging press credentials in an effort to get through the police lines, he added, but that doesn’t mean actual reporters were arrested.

The tricky part here is that Browne seems to be specifically referring to the several hours during which the NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park. There isn't any evidence, at least that we can find, that Browne's narrowly-defined assertion is incorrect. (See update below. Reporters were forced away to a penned-off area outside of the park, and many credentialed press complied. And one assumes Browne isn't counting citizen journalists.) 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.

Peter Bekker, consulting director of the New York Press Club, tells us, "We’re not sure which operation Deputy Commissioner Browne was reportedly referencing, but if it was last November’s rousting of OWS people from Zuccotti Park, the deputy commissioner should check his recollections against the email on that topic sent soon after by Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor. Mr. Loeser, too, was evidently trying 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. The New York Press Club, to say the least, is disappointed in what this kind of official equivocation suggests about the significance to the mayor and police commissioner of a free press."

Update: Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser writes in to point out, "My November email focused in detail on the three reporters who were arrested later in the day for entering a fenced-off plot near Duarte Park at Canal and Avenue of America (their arrests had already been vacated by the time I wrote). That’s a mile or more (depending which way you walk) from Zuccotti Park—and an incident that happened about 12 hours later. The 26 individuals were from coast to coast, as the article Mr. Bekker cites says in its very first sentence."

We're also unsure who is the lone journalist to whom Browne refers in the Queens Chronicle interview. (Browne has not responded to a request for clarification.) But it's worth remembering that on the night of the eviction, the NYPD had no problem arresting City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who emerged from jail after almost 20 hours with bruises on his face allegedly sustained during his rough arrest.

A sensational photo of that arrest—Rodriguez face down on the pavement with riot police on top of him—briefly surfaced on Time magazine's website, but was removed hours later. A source at Time later told Rodriguez's office that a city official called Time and asked them to change it "because it was inflammatory." This heavy allegation came to light in a civil rights lawsuit filed against the city at the end of April, but aside from Gothamist, it hasn't been widely reported. Whatever, it's probably just another myth.

UPDATE 3:53 p.m.: Philip Win, a protester who was arrested the night of the raid writes in to say that as he was driven in the police van to 1 Police Plaza, there was a NYT-associated blogger and a news videographer both with credentials in the van with us. (He may be referring to Jared Malsin, an NYU student who was blogging for the Times-affiliated blog The Local.) After the raid, a Times spokesperson told said that no Times freelancers or staffers were arrested.

And DNAinfo noted at the time that reporter Julie Walker, "who said she was a freelancer for National Public Radio, announced that she had been arrested on Twitter, then resumed covering the story after she was released from police custody."

Update 4:12 p.m.: We'll just keep updating this as more reports of journalist arrests during the raid surface. This one comes from Deadline Club, which reports that New York photojournalist Douglas Higginbotham, a freelance cameraman working for TV New Zealand, was arrested after he climbed atop a telephone booth to get a better shot of events.

Update 5:43 p.m.:
Malsin, the Local blogger who was arrested, writes in to say that Jennifer Weiss, a freelancer who was filming the incident for AFP, "was arrested a few feet from where I was, during the raid on Zuccotti. Like me, she filmed her own arrest. Weiss, Ydanis Rodriguez, and I were all driven to 1 Police Plaza in the same van."