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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Continuous Updates On Zuccotti Park Eviction of Occupiers: Brookfield Statement

By Susan Duclos

NYPD officer lines are four deep at the northwest corner of Zuccotti #OWS

[Update 4:15pm] New sign posted at Zucotti barricades, photo below:

Click photo to enlarge

[Update 4:47]
Petition to extend restraining order DENIED. #OWS loses judgment. No more living in the Park. Link to follow as soon as it is posted. PDF to ruling here.

The request for an extension of Judge Billings restraining order on the City to prevent them from evicting #OWS Occupiers has been denied.

From PDF of Judge Stallman's ruling:

Upon the foregoing papers and after oral argument in open court by the parties' counsel and intervenors (see Transcript, Robert Portas, Court Reporter), it is hereby ORDERED that petitioner's application for an extension ofthe temporary restraining order granted by Justice Lucy Billings on November 15, 2011 at 6:30 a.m. is denied;

More from page 4 of the ruling:

The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, orto the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City's enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.

[Update 4:00]
No ruling yet despite premature cheering from #OWS supporters quoting earlier ruling.

[Update 1:54pm]
Judge: I'll consider. Hope to have decision by 3.

[Other updates on hearing below Brookfield statement]

This is an update to the previous post with video and full text of Mayor Michael Bloomberg explaining the eviction of the Wall Street Occupiers from Zuccotti Park early this morning.

While Mayor Bloomberg is waiting for the courts to determine whether Occupiers can return to camping out overnight with tents against Zuccotti Park rules, the management company in charge of maintaining Zuccotti Park has issued a statement:

Brookfield appreciates the peaceful and professional response of the NYPD, the FDNY, and the Department of Sanitation, and thanks Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership. As had been widely reported, conditions in Zuccotti Park had become dangerous, unhealthy and unsafe. In our view, these risks were unacceptable and it would have been irresponsible to not request that the City take action. Further, we have a legal obligation to the City and to this neighborhood to keep the Park accessible to all who wish to enjoy it, which had become impossible.

As previously stated, Brookfield supports all citizens’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.

Brookfield had hoped to reopen the Park this morning after it had been cleaned. The City and Brookfield, however, were notified of a court-ordered injunction regarding the use of the Park. As a matter of public safety, the Park will remain closed pending the resolution of this matter.

Our hope is to reopen the Park as soon as possible for the enjoyment of all members of the community in accord with the rules of the Park.

Both this post and the prior one on the eviction of Zuccotti will be updated when the 11:30am hearing concludes deciding whether occupiers can return to the park with full camping gear or not.

[Update - 12:58pm ET] Hearing has started and the case has been assigned to Judge Stallman.

[Update 1:03pm ET] Via Ben Smith (Politico) via Twitter: "Brookfield lawyer says protesters can return to Zuccotti, but can't erect tents and live there."

[Update 1:12pm ET] Eyewitness News via Twitter: "lawyer for owner of #ZucottiPark making his case before judge in #OWS eviction case. Says more rules needed."

[Update - 1:21pm ET] Reuters reporter, Joseph Ax at hearing, via Twitter: "Douglas Flaum, lawyer for Brookfield, which owns Zuccotti: "We are not in any way trying to stop speech." He cites health and safety."

[Update 1:25pm ET]Judge asks Brookfield lawyer: is it your position that tents have no 1st amendment function here? Answer, yes. Furthermore according to Brookefield lawyer: We are not a state actor, so no 1st amendment obligations.

[Update 1:38pm] Judge asks #OWS lawyer "Does the absence of preexisting rules preclude new rules, even as owner may face liability?" (Via Macfathom on Twitter) Answer from Levine: no, they can adopt rules, but they have to be least drastic rules possible."

[Update 1:45pm] New York City Lawyer, Sheryl Neufeld, cites photos showing public safety issues stating "The rules are content-neutral rules," and rules "were promulgated after the occupation took hold, but they have nothing to do with the message." (Ax)

[Update 1:49] NYC Lawyer "Tents aren't the message; tents are to keep protesters from getting cold." (Macfathom)

[Update 1:54pm] Judge: I'll consider. Hope to have decision by 3.

[Update 3:00pm] Embeddable letter from Brookfield, dated November 14, 2011, to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, RE: Zuccotti Park.

You can find all WuA's Occupier antics posts at the class warfare label page here.