Neither Brookfield Properties nor the NYPD wants journalists asking questions about an unmarked truck that has been pointing a surveillance camera at protesters in Zuccotti Park for the past few weeks. So much so that a police officer declared journalist Nick Turse’s note-taking at the site to be illegal and ordered him to leave.
Weeks ago, Turse observed an electrical cable running from the vehicle to an outlet at the base of the Brookfield tower that looms over the park. Then he saw NYPD officers moving between the street and the building without the credentials that security guards claimed are required for entry. Upon asking, he was run off the site, which led him to wonder: What kind of favors might the company be offering the police? What might they get in return? And whatever happened to the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech?
Click through to read the exchange between Turse and the cop. —ARK
Nick Turse at AlterNet:
We were at an impasse, so I eventually I did move along. But when I crossed the street and looked back to see Officer Cristiano talking to the security official from One Liberty Plaza, it got me thinking. Were NYPD officers now taking orders from Brookfield Properties? For some free electricity and use of a toilet, could the NYPD be bought?
Or, I wondered, could it be even simpler than that? Maybe New York’s finest would do the bidding of the representative of a big-money real estate firm without any kickbacks at all.
… The NYPD refused multiple requests for information on the legality of reporting from outside Liberty Plaza or any exchange of resources with, special considerations for or relationship with One Liberty Plaza or Brookfield Properties. After the eviction of the occupiers, Brookfield issued a statement avowing support for “all citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” but has yet to explain why actions from its representatives suggest otherwise.