New York City
NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011
The NYPD doled out 48,556 summonses to bike riders in 2011. That figure was reported by Executive Officer of the Transportation Bureau, John Cassidy at a hearing held by the NY City Council Wednesday on NYPD policies for traffic investigations.
The New York Police Department, under fire from New York City Muslims, has announced that it is ending its program of NYPD-CIA collaboration launched after 9-11. Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the CIA officer working as a special assistant to the department's intelligence program will leave his post in April after nine months. The program has been under scrutiny since it was revealed in a series of stories by the Associated Press, prompting the CIA's own Inspector General to conduct an investigation. The Inspector General's probe found there was insufficient oversight of the program, which included sending plainclothes "rakers" into mosques and Muslim communities. Muslims not suspected of any wrongdoing were put in intelligence databases.
From Lower Manhattan's Downtown Express, Jan. 18:
Girl killed on Delancey St.
A 12-year-old girl on her way home from Castle Middle School on Henry St. was struck and killed by a car around 2:40 p.m. Fri., Jan. 13 at Delancey and Clinton Sts, at the Williamsburg Bridge ramp.
Shortly before the ball dropped in Times Square, hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters swarmed over police barricades at downtown Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. As midnight approached, the hundreds gathered at Zuccotti Park shouted "Whose year? Our year!" As they grabbed the barricades, police officers took hold as well, and a shoving match began. At least one officer fired pepper spray into the crowd. Moments later, at least a dozen officers charged into the park, plowing directly into the crowd. One man was thrown down and pinned to the ground by several officers, as protesters shouted "Peaceful!" and "Nonviolent!" After police cleared the park, arresting 68, a small group of protesters gathered on the sidewalk directly across Broadway from the park, where a projector displayed slogans in letters of light on the side of a modernistic sculpture: "We are the 99%" and "Whose year? Our year!" (AP, Jan. 1; NYT City Room blog, Addicting Info, Dec. 31; World War 4 Report on the scene)
The case against Jose Pimentel, the latest accused would-be Islamist terrorist who was busted in New York City, is starting to smell more and more dubious. It seems the case was left to the NYPD and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance because the FBI—not exactly known for its caution or scrupulous reverence for defendants' rights—declined to get involved, fearing a weak case. City authorities are portraying Pimental as an "al-Qaeda sympathizer" (note: "sympathizer," not "operative") but also as a "lone wolf" with no actual overseas connections. He was impecunious (hardly a condition for an effective terrorist), and openly maintained a website espousing his jihadist beliefs and bad-assing about blowing shit up (ditto). The FBI was apparently worried about entrapment—which has already been invoked as a possibility by Pimentel's attorney.
New York City police arrested some 200 protesters on the morning of Nov. 17 as hundreds converged on the Financial District for a "Shut Down Wall Street" action to note the two-month mark of the Occupation movement. With Wall Street itself under tight police control, protesters blocked surrounding intersections, and some scuffled with police. That evening, some 30,000 rallied at Foley Square and then marched over the Brooklyn Bridge. Participants prominently included unionists, especially from SEIU 1199 (hospital workers) , CWA 1101 (Verizon) and the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY). At the entrance of the bridge, a blinking sign read, "Peds on the roadway are subject to arrest"—a reference to the mass arrests of Oct. 1. The march took hours to cross to Brooklyn on the pedestrian catwalk. Hundreds of activists also attempted to occupy the Union Square subway hub during rush hour, and then marched down to Foley Square. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said five police officers were injured in the morning civil disobedience.
Some 500 of police officers, many in riot gear, descended on Manhattan's Zuccotti Park after midnight the night of Nov. 14, in a surprise sweep of the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Police handed out notices to occupiers ordering them to evacuate the park, supposedly to be allowed to return after a cleaning—but without their tents and equipment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office simultaneously Tweeted: "Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the Park is cleared." Police began tearing up the tents and confiscating equipment at about 1:45 AM after throwing press out of the park. The books in the camp's library were thrown into the street. Blocks around the park were sealed off as supporters began converging on the scene from around the city. Occupiers initially resisted eviction, locking arms amid chants of "Whose park? Our park!" At least 70 were arrested, as a core group of about 100 dug in around the kitchen area in the middle of the park. There were unconfirmed reports of police using tear gas or pepper spray to dislodge these, at least some of whom apparently remained in the park as dawn approached.
For the first time since the 1999 Seattle protests, a movement in the United States is in the vanguard of global resistance to capital. But this time, the stakes are much higher. Now, from Europe to the Arab world to South America to Manhattan and Oakland, the planet seems headed into a revolutionary situation. Occupy Wall Street, which has brought the struggle to the very nerve-center of world capitalism, has responsibilities on a world scale. There are some things that it is very important that we get right.