Understanding NYPD Crowd Control Tactics
In this ten minute video, Paul Henri-Sullivan documents NYPD tactics in crowd control. He follows an OWS protest with his camera focused on the police. He sees how the police white shirts direct arrests as the protest gains momentum in order to weaken the protest. The video, shot on September 17th, 2012, during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration action, details 10 arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes. While at first glance many of the individual arrests appear to be arbitrary, careful analysis from the videographers illustrates a larger picture wherein the NYPD’s actions are calculated and designed to derail the protesters ability to effectively assemble. The police consistently tell the crowd to keep moving and get out of the streets, but than at the direction of a white shirt, police go into the crowd and arrest people, often at the specific direction of the who to arrest. They will often throw the person to the ground so that it becomes a spectacle arrest, one that other protesters can see in order to intimidate them, or to draw other protesters out to un-arrest the person so they can also be arrested. Consistently targeted are men wearing dark clothes and a bandanna. Sometimes it seems the police commanders have specific people in mind or, perhaps, know specific people due to police infiltration. Sullivan continues to film until he finds himself under arrest as well. As often happens, it is a minor charge that gets the protester off the street and then months later the charges are dropped.