NYC Owes Occupy Wall Street $365,000
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Fans of justice will be glad to hear that New York City will pay for all those books and all that media equipment that the police trashed when it famously raided the Occupy Wall Street camp on November 15, 2011. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York just announced a $366,700 settlement in Occupy's case against the city for the damage caused during the raid as well as all of the legal fees the movement's poured into seeking retribution. Sound like a lot? Let's itemize those expenses for you:
The People's Library ($47,000 in damages, $186,350 in legal fees)
Ray Bradbury probably turned over in his grave, when the New York Police Department went after the 5,500 donated books that Occupy was keeping for the people in Zucotti Park. First covered in the media by The New Yorker, the so-called People's Library was so popular it even earned its own blog in the early days of the movement and maintained it long after Zucotti was empty and the majority of its books destroyed. As Occupy's lawyer put it, the settlement stood for a lot more than books. "This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books," Normal Siegel told The Village Voice.
Global Revolutions TV ($75,000 in damages, $49,850 in legal fees)
The only thing almost as bad as burning books is destroying journalists' tools. That's exactly what the NYPD did when they damaged the "computers, wifi hotspots and similarly related live-streaming equipment" of Global Revolutions TV. The $75,000 in damages does not include the well-document instances of police brutality against journalists several of whom were arrested that night while trying to cover the event. Don't worry. That's a separate lawsuit.
Times Up New York ($8,500 in damages)
This is getting ridiculous. The NYPD even took out the awesome bicycle-powered generators that Occupiers built to keep the lights on at Zucotti. These things popped up after the police took Occupy's regular generators a couple weeks before the raid, though the activists got them back later. The bicycle generators weren't so lucky in the raid, so now the city has to pay.
The only bright side for Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the rest of the city government is that they were slightly successful in blaming Brookfield Properties, the owners of Zucotti Park, for someof the damages. But it's clear who was mostly responsible for the damage. While the city has to pay over 365,000 to the various Occupy affiliates, Brookfield Properties must pay the city just $15,666.67.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.