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NYPD May Be Using Warrant Squads to Monitor Protesters

Posted on May 4, 2012
The Eyes of New York (CC BY-SA 2.0)

An NYPD helicopter hovers over protests in Manhattan on May Day.

OWS communications coordinator Shawn Carrié was walking home at 9 p.m. on May Day when nine plainclothes police officers approached him, took his belongings, placed him in handcuffs and put him in a van. He was questioned about his involvement in Occupy Wall Street and then spent the next 13 hours in jail.

Ailsa Chang of WNYC reports that Carrié was picked up on two open bench warrants from 2007 pertaining to a public urination incident. But it turned out those warrants belonged to another Shawn Carrié. The name is not his given one, but an alias he uses in marches.

The NYPD may be using the legal tactic of picking up Occupiers on old warrants to question them about their political activities. Officers went to the homes of a number of people involved in Occupy Wall Street early in the morning on May Day. In each incident, a warrant for an open container or some other long-standing violation belonging to a protester or roommate was apparently used as a pretext for questioning.

According to court officials, more than 1 million of these types of warrants currently exist in New York City.

Legal experts have said the tactic of executing these warrants to question political dissidents violates the U.S. Constitution. Under a previous Supreme Court ruling, they argue, the NYPD has to demonstrate that it would have executed the warrants even if the people named in them were not involved in the Wall Street protests. —Alexander Reed Kelly

Ailsa Chang at WNYC News:

Carrié said, regardless of the infraction, the alleged practice of using old warrants as a pretext for questioning people about their political activity can chill speech. 

“It’s making people scared to freely communicate, and making them feel like they’re watched.  ‘Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, we’re watching,’” he said.

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By heterochromatic, May 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

cleaning out the stables is a heroic task….... and the atmosphere seems to suit my
general disposition.

see ya round.

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By Maani, May 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

No prob.  I know I’ll find you here somewhere, raking muck as usual…LOL.  Peace.

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By heterochromatic, May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

any way you’ve got them broken out is cool with me…..

I’ll look on this thread and please accept my thanks for whatever you come up with
and for the willingness to make the effort.

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By Maani, May 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Let me see what I can do.  Might not have an answer for a few days, but should be able to get it.  Are you looking for ALL open warrants, or some subset thereof?  Peace.

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By heterochromatic, May 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

rough number of outstanding warrants would interest me…if it’s not any trouble

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By Maani, May 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment


LOL.  I may be able to find out the answer to both things, if it matters.  ??


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By heterochromatic, May 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

other than a vague recollection that there are warrant squads in each borough and
that there are a shitload of open warrants, you’re quite correct.

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By Maani, May 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment


“You probably haven’t a whiff of an idea of how many warrants are open and how many MYPD members are in the warrant squad.”

You probably don’t either…LOL.


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By heterochromatic, May 8, 2012 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

rbt—- you probably haven’t a whiff of an idea of how many warrants are open and
how many MYPD members are in the warrant squad.

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By rtb61, May 8, 2012 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

This is extraordinarily dangerous, when it’s just a few incidents, it is just a local commander peddling his own political. When it occurs in large numbers it is a conspiracy run by those outside of the police and using the police as it’s ‘enforcers’.
This is a conspiracy by corporate leaders and their political puppets to pervert the course of justice and to use the legal system as a tool of extortion and to attempt to force obedience.
How long before some of the warrants become no knock justifiable shooting warrants with an out of court settlement for homicide.

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By jdean, May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A police state acting like a police state. Where is the mystery. If this was a real nation or republic there would be revolt across the country. This is the new social-security service relationship. Too late now. Where was everyone 30 years ago. Oh, I forgot the great communicator proclaiming morning in Amerika. More like darkness at noon.

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By gerard, May 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

One thing I can’t account for is what makes Americans so freaking suspicious and punishing.  Many of them just don’t seem happy unless they are picking a fight with someone over—it almost doesn’t matter what.  Just works like a reflex. And if the victim is relatively helpless, that seems to whet the appetite, like searches with or without warrants, or three or four cops taking a guy’s door off the hinges, using a guy’s illness to get in to shoot him dead. No over-reaction or anything ... just business as usual. The name-calling.  The denigration.
  And even the government’s world-wide power-trip, and at home keeping minute records on the comings and goings, the statements and connections of millions and millions of ordinary citizens, looking for trouble.  It’s worse than a freaking nit-picking session among a family of bored alpha-male orang-utangs.
  What causes that degree of interpersonal unease?  That eagerness to draw blood?  Fear?  Of what?  Anger? Rage? Hatred? Envy? Or just plain petty spite?
  When I first glanced at that picture of the two French guys rubbing noses, happy to have Sarkozy gone, I felt a huge sigh of relief.  At least somebody likes somebody.

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By heterochromatic, May 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

thanks mrr and if you give me your address I’ll gobble done some asparagus and
come over and take a whizz on your bed because I know that you understand that
restricting me from doing so will be an insult to my humanity.

BTW, i had read through and noted the claim that it was the wrong guy, but the
tactic was more widely employed than just to that guy and the larger point was
about the tactic.

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By heterochromatic, May 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

jr—thank you for that link to some serious, yet still
hilarious, bullshit.

have you seen the other newly unearthed manual that
calls for protesters to be sold to Venezuela in return
for oil as a means to help alleviate the Venezuelan
meat shortage?

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By heterochromatic, May 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Maani== it’s not a witch hunt. it’s a means of alerting
some people to the fact that the NYPD supports their
efforts to forego future criminal conduct and the NYPD
is delivering that message with typical subtlety

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By Maani, May 5, 2012 at 10:07 am Link to this comment


Re “Another example of too many police,” I strongly disagree.  In fact, the NYPD has gone from almost 40,000 in the late 1990s to ~32,000 today.  Rather, what the situation this article discusses represents is bad management of personnel resources: officers simply should not be wasting their time on this type of “witch hunt.”


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By heterochromatic, May 5, 2012 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

kids softball is a waste as they’re too young to drink beer.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, May 5, 2012 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Another example of too many police.

Millions of soldiers overseas fighting people in mud huts who never did anything to the United States, hundreds of thousands of police in the United States armed like the soldiers to regulate civil obedience but attempt to get more funding for your kids school softball team and you are told there is ‘no money’ and we must raise taxes for that.

A picture of the crap of America.

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By mrr, May 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you read a little further into the article..the truncated version here, it is the next was the wrong Shawn. The young man arrested, was NOT the person who pissed on someone’s property. Usually it is good to read all the way through something..maybe even go to the shared original source..

Such ‘crimes’ are an insult to our humanity anyway. Now if someone were to urinate on someone else, non-consensually, then that is a problem. We have far too many hang-ups about property in America.

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By heterochromatic, May 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

people with outstanding warrants are advised that they have no obligation
whatsoever to answer questions posed to them and certainly not about totally
unrelated activities.

I’m not too certain that cops picking up people that they have legal authority to
pick up have any obligation to not pose questions concerning other possible
offenses, but they can be ignored.

best practice is not to have any outstanding warrants as pissing on other people’s
property can come back on you.

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By Maani, May 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

As outrageous as this is, it is hardly surprising.  Nothing to see here; move on…

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