Judge Stallman rules against occupy protesters

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The Judicial Update

November 16, 2011

New York, NY On November 15, 2011, New York City police cleared Zuccotti Park, the home of the Occupy Wall Street movement, of protesters and their encampments. This came almost two months after the protests began. Lawyers for a number of protesters immediately filed for a temporary restraining order, which would stop the city from evicting or arresting the "occupiers". Judge Lucy Billings granted a temporary injunction.[1] To see injunction: click here

Judge Michael D. Stallman was chosen to hear the case later that day. Stallman reversed Lucy Billings' earlier injunction, ruling in favor of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had given the order for the eviction. Stallman's ruling said that protesters would be able to return to the park, but they would have to do so without their tents, sleeping bags, and other belongings.[2][3] Stallman wrote, "The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in, Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, or to the rights to public access, of others who might wish to use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City's enforcement of law so as to promote public, health and safety."[4]

  • Occupy Wall Street attorneys argued, saying that the protesters were wrongfully removed and that sleeping bags and tents are tools which helped them exercise their First Amendment rights.[2]
“That right has along with it the attendant right to be protected from the elements. And since the city has no real reason to prevent people from bringing in sleeping bags and tents, constitutional rights ought to prevail, unfortunately, the judge disagreed.”[3] -OWS Attorney Alan Levine
  • Lawyers representing the city and the owners of the park, Brookfield Properties, argued that the tents and other items brought into the park represented a safety hazard and turned the park into a fire trap.[2]
"There is no ambiguity in the law here -- the First Amendment protects speech -- it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space."[2] -Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“This has not stopped the movement. As we said earlier, win, lose or draw, the 99 percent will continue to show up, will continue to express themselves, and will continue to move forward in social change.”[2] -OWS Attorney Yetta Kurland

See also

References



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