After over a hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in the atrium of the World Financial Center, the NYPD ordered them to disperse, and arrested 17 of them for failing to comply. A video of the incident also shows Robert Stolarik, a credentialed photographer working for the New York Times, having his shot blocked repeatedly by NYPD officers. Now, another video has surfaced showing the NYPD arresting a man who appears to be protester Justin Wedes as he passively stands and films the police ordering protesters to leave.


The photographer who shot the video, JB Nicholas, tells us he just as easily could have been detained for filming the arrest. "You know, it would have been easy for them to grab me instead of Justin." He notes that 1st Precinct Commanding Officer, Captain Edward Winski, was the one to detain Wedes. He's the same police officer who reached over police barricades to detain an Occupy Wall Street protester during a march in September. "Protesters started grabbing [Wede's] legs and that's when everything got crazy."

Nicholas, a paparazzo who shoots local news along with breaking national events like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, has held NYPD press credentials for years. He said that there is a "marked hostility" from the NYPD towards the media at Occupy Wall Street events. "Oddly enough, I've covered Occupy for three months, and this is the first time an officer has put his hands on me, besides the eviction night. I got arrested by the Port Authority police two weeks ago for covering a routine news event."

Molly Knefel writes that her brother John, an independent journalist who has covered the protests for Salon, was arrested for nothing more than shooting video.

John had been standing near the crowd, taking video. I was about twenty feet from him, and when I looked back in his direction, I saw his blue hood on the ground…John was face down on the ground being handcuffed, his glasses flung across the floor and people screaming, “Stop, stop, he didn’t do anything!”

A cop pulled me up by my shoulders and told me to step back.  I said, “He’s my brother.”  Several cops pushed me away as I asked, “What is he being arrested for?  He was taking pictures.”  A cop said, “He didn’t produce an official press pass, so that means he was resisting arrest.”  I quite literally didn’t understand, so I said, “What?”  At that point, the same cop said, “If you don’t step back immediately, you will be arrested too.”

"There's absolutely no distinction between journalists and protesters," Nicholas says. "DCPI and the NYPD aren't credentialing people who should be credentialed, so cops just see someone with a camera—and everyone has a camera—and assume they're a protester." Asked if Nicholas used his press pass yesterday, he said it wasn't on him.

"I got it renewed this summer, then I lost it, and now DCPI won't give me an appointment to get another one. Some cops recognize me though, they know who I am, they know what I'm doing."