Lawyer Says Zuccotti Park Demonstrators Broke No Law
March 30, 2012, 5:46 pm
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
When hundreds of police officers entered Zuccotti Park early on Nov. 15, they dismantled tents and other structures that had been erected by Occupy Wall Street protesters in defiance of rules established in September by the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties.
The police also arrested dozens of protesters who refused to leave the park, charging them with offenses that included trespassing and disorderly conduct, as officers set up metal barricades around the park’s perimeter.
On Friday a defense lawyer argued in Criminal Court in Manhattan that such charges filed against two of his clients should be dismissed. While it might be appropriate for Brookfield to establish rules governing behavior in the park, the lawyer said, the company could not order people out of the park because an agreement with the city required it to be open to the public 24 hours a day.
“Brookfield lacked the authority to exclude people,” the lawyer, Jethro M. Eisenstein, argued in support of as motion to dismiss the charges, contending that it was “unseemly and unjust to allow Brookfield to harness the power of the state” to clear the park of protesters.