As thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters took to the streets on Thursday, journalists once again found themselves a target of police violence and arrests.
Reporters took to Twitter and, in some cases, to television to spread the word of the heavy hand police were using against them. It appeared to be a repeat of a similar scene two days earlier, when journalists were roughed up and arrested as the NYPD forcibly cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment in lower Manhattan.
Lucy Kafanov, a reporter for the RT television network, said she was hit with a police baton while trying to film the protests. She told another reporter for her network that she had her press credentials clearly visible, but was still struck. She also said that she witnessed another reporter from the IndyMedia network being “slammed against the wall” and arrested.
“It does not seem police are making a distinction between press and protesters,” she said. Other journalists reported similar incidents.
“Saw NYPD hitting a man with a nightstick. Tried to take a picture but police grabbed me and shoved me across the street,” DNAInfo editor Julie Shapiro tweeted. “The NYPD just slammed a barricade into a photographer,” another report read.
The Daily Caller also said that two of its reporters were “assaulted” with batons.
Josh Stearns, a member of media reform group Free Press who has been tracking the arrests of journalists at Occupy movements, estimates that 26 have been arrested in total since the protests began two months ago. On Thursday, that number looked set to grow substantially, as reports of arrests poured in. Baltimore reporter Ryan Harvey and In These Times writer J.A. Meyerson — were reportedly arrested.
In addition, a picture said to be of Keith Gessen, editor of n+1 magazine, being held on the ground by police was tweeted. Gessen and two other journalists were later said to have been arrested, and video footage emerged of Gessen being taken away by police. His case was somewhat different than the others, though, since he appeared to be participating in civil disobedience. He later made a statement to a local ABC station explaining why he had participated in the protests.