The NYPD's Reponse to Occupy Wall Street

Friday, November 18, 2011

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne discusses his department's response to Occupy Wall Street, from clearing Zuccotti Park to arresting journalists and controlling the crowds during yesterday's day of action.


Paul Browne

Comments [54]

Brian Acolyte from Upstate NY


Listened to this interview on Friday evening. Just read the comments now, on Sunday evening. Two comments of my own:

First, it's clear, over the years, that Paul Brown slants the "truth" in ways that benefit the NYPD only. (Several comments note this, providing details.) He's not an objective commentator. He ought to be questioned in a more pointed, more aggressive way. But that's the trap you (Brian Lehrer) have to deal with, hardnosed but sometimes too respectful and accepting, in exchange for generous access to the brass. If you question him in a manner appropriate to his own mendacious role, he'll never come back. Ditto for Ray Kelly.

2. Why didn't you question him about the white shirt who pepper-sprayed the protestors without provocation? What has happened to this official. Is he suspended?Under investigation? I just viewed YouTube footage from the protest at San Diego. Cops are doing this to often, with impunity. At least this officer has been suspended or put on leave, pending investigation. What about NYC police brutality against protesters?

Nov. 20 2011 10:17 PM
Carl from Jersey City

Hats off to the NYPD for finally cleaning up this mess. The group at the park did nothing more than throw away the City's money and hurt the very people say they're representing!! They are not the 99% they are the 1% who are at the very bottom. If they ever got a job they probably wouldn't be able to hold it. They just don't have a grasp on the real issues nor do they understand the history of what really caused some of the economic problems that we have today. Finally, Mr. Lehrer, one of your callers was dead tap on center about the slanted reporting of WYNY!!

Nov. 18 2011 02:04 PM
Alex from Brooklyn

I'm ashamed at this coverage. I viewed your show, Brian as a straight forward and truthful reporting and discussion.
There were absolutely FAR more than 5k people at the brooklyn bridge alone.
There were lots of labor unions, lots of students and lots of dedicated OWSers. This was an action organized by and in solidarity with the OWS movement. How could it not represent OWS?
Brian, I don't know what else to say about this. As an avid listener of your show I am very disappointed at the lack of fact in this segment and it make me uneasy about listening to future segments.

Nov. 18 2011 01:29 PM
Salvatore Principato from grenwich village

Was your guest a police commissioner on Mars or in New York City or merely a propaganda chief
against progressive change. 100 people at Wall Street yesterday? Dilettantes? Reporters step away? Obviously his view is limited and steeped in pre-conceived notions. This is why Brian Lehrer needs to do his journalistic homework and see for himself what's going on with OWS & the 99% not from his studio but on the streets so he doesn't get by confused by people who have an agenda that includes discrediting what to my ears and eyes is an unprecedented movement towards real democracy in this city in this country

Nov. 18 2011 12:53 PM

Just FYI, Non for profit organizations in NYC provide many services that for profit organizations do not. That is why the get tax deductions or exemptions. You can see a list of the many and diverse organizations providing services to New Yorkers at:

Nov. 18 2011 11:10 AM
RMC from NYC

Just read an article in the NYT reporting that the police intelligence officers entered churches sheltering protestors and tried to "count heads." This in violation of the policies regulating the collection of intelligence re private citizens on private property. The police appear to have used pretexts -- they had to use the rest room, "someone" had reported vandalism -- to enter the churches. This behavior by the police needs to be publicized and stopped.

Nov. 18 2011 10:45 AM

#OWS needs a billionaire bully buffoon like Bloomberg!

Who else could single handily rejuvenate the movement and punctuate the issues any better?

Kudos™ to the Mayor®!!

Nov. 18 2011 10:41 AM

Gotta hand it to Brian for his patience with "David the caller".

Definitely an "alternative" universe... I mean view.

Public radio folks do make mad coin, however.

Nov. 18 2011 10:35 AM
Julie from Union Square

Brian, non-profits DO pay taxes to the city of NY via payroll taxes that all the "highly" paid executives (and other employees) pay. Payroll taxes are paid BOTH by the employee AND the non-profit organization. The only taxes that non-profits do not pay are taxes on revenue. David needs to get his facts straight on the contributions non-profits make to NYC before his next rant.

Nov. 18 2011 10:31 AM
Kathy from NYC

In response to Mayor Bloomberg's assertion that yesterday's protestors didn't really represent OWS: I was part of the Student Strike that marched from Union Square down to Foley Square. I think the point was really about showing *solidarity with* OWS. Yes, many of the people who were at the Square and who marched over the Brooklyn Bridge last night were not the same ones who have been in Zuccotti Park for the past two months. But I'm not sure what the purpose of making that distinction is other than political strategizing to discount the expansion of a movement that is powerful (and scary), in part, precisely because of its inability to be discretely categorized and managed.

Nov. 18 2011 10:31 AM
steve from manhattan

David -- monopolies are so passe... enough. You are lucky to have a job, and your one hour inconvenience getting to work pales next to the inconvenience of losing one's home and not being out of work. Celebrate what you have, recognize the legitimate anger and angst of those who have not, and get off the air so other citizens can speak...

Nov. 18 2011 10:31 AM

i agree w some of what david is saying but he still needs to get l@id. dude you (also?) need to join the protests!

and bl show -- of all the erudite, loquacious opinionists, *this* is who you give up the waves for?

personally i am delighted to see people in the streets, it's a about time. yay democracy!

Nov. 18 2011 10:31 AM
Linda from New York

Thank you WNYC for your unceasing efforts to bring us intelligent, comprehensive news coverage. I just need to go on record as saying that I truly appreciate the job you're doing. Keep it up! OWS coverage is especially inspiring.

Nov. 18 2011 10:30 AM

My wife works in the district, not as a banker, or in the finance industry. She was verbally harassed coming out of the subway by a mob of screaming , hysterics. They were spitting in her face and demanding she justify herself. All she was trying to do was GO TO WORK...the time has come to standup to these idiots. Maybe if they spent as much time looking for work as disparaging those that have jobs..things would change..there are jobs out there.

Nov. 18 2011 10:29 AM
kim from NYC

Ok, outta control..

Nov. 18 2011 10:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

to dboy

Looks like dribble-boy is on my butt again :)

Nov. 18 2011 10:27 AM
art525 from Park Slope

to MP from Brooklyn who says-
"I heard one of the protestors chanting something about the NYPD being sexist and racist. Walking right behind her were two black female cops. That made me laugh."

Those black women are cops because there were refoms done on the police applcation exams. On any given day you will find letters to the editor in the News and the Post complaining about those test reforms and demanding their repeal. There have also been numerous cases of commanding officers being removed from their positions for sexist if not racist behavior. So it is quite possible that while there are black women in police positions racism and sexism do exist. I hearcases of black people complaining about that all the time. Isn't there also an issue of black men being stopped and frisked and profiled?

Nov. 18 2011 10:27 AM

The "David" the caller is not only shallow and delusional he's also stupid.

WNYC has NEVER portrayed #OWS as heros or been overly sympathetic.

Slightly condescending if anything!!

Nov. 18 2011 10:26 AM
Zak from Astoria

Your last caller is way out of line with regard to WNYC's coverage of OWS. He'd like you not to cover it? Your show is, in large part, about issues related to New York can you not cover it regularly?

Nov. 18 2011 10:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

Wow caller David! Too much coffee this

Nov. 18 2011 10:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Anyone who took out a mortgage (a 30 year loan) with the assumption they would live the 30 years and make all the income in the future to pay it off, is part of the problem! Back in the 19th century, which Ron Paul so idolizes as the halcyon period, only 10% of urban Americans owned their own homes. There were no mortgages, except for those with lots of collateral. This whole "American dream" nonsense began after WWII, when the US government promoted home ownership as a way of fighting both unemployment and communism. If you think you own something, you are less likely to be a Commie! You don't want someone to take it away! And of course, construction work was the easiest way to employ large numbers of unskilled or semi-skilled people.

Nov. 18 2011 10:25 AM

We don't have capitalism Brian...we have Crony-Capitalism. We cannot bail out failed corporations and call it Capitalism. we need to let businesses/banks pay the price for bad decisions, and keep the government regulations away...they starngle small business.

Nov. 18 2011 10:23 AM

I keep hearing from about how there is no 'absolute right X'. Bloomberg said there wasn't an absolute right of speech. Paul Browne just said freedom of the press was not absolute.

Law enforcement's job is not to interprete the constitution.

When it comes down to it, as a group the protestors where not breaking the law

Nov. 18 2011 10:22 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@art525 from Park SLope

Just another sign of how out of touch Billionaire Bloomie is

Oh...and it was a very mixed crowd, Unions and others. Bloomberg is a fool.

Nov. 18 2011 10:21 AM

... more inane dribble from jaggerbuttz.


Nov. 18 2011 10:21 AM
Thomas from West Village

Are you a lamb?
Perplexed by all this anti-slaughterhouse sentiment...?

Nov. 18 2011 10:20 AM
andy k

Bloomberg proves he doesn't get it when he says that the people on the Brooklyn Bridge were not representatives of OWS. That would be impossible. Unless, all of those people on the Brooklyn Bridge were a part of the 1%...probably not!

Nov. 18 2011 10:19 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Anyone who was there knows that is a lie.


Nov. 18 2011 10:19 AM

Paul Brown is underestimating the numbers (unfortunately the standard response after any major protest). I was there as an observer last night at the rally at Foley Square. The NYPD's own estimate was @ 30,000.

Nov. 18 2011 10:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think I commented here in the first week of the OWS protests, that once the people go to the streets, violence becomes inevitable. That's why the Founding Fathers set up a republic rather than a direct democracy, out of fear of the mobs. The protests became pointless because it had no clear focus, except to say the growing number of have nots resent the haves. As one of the have nots, I do not resent the 1%, but only those who have gotten it by illegal means. But there is no way to fully protect the stupid from their own stupidity. Those who believed they could take a 30 year loan for their homes, without having a crystal ball to assure them they would be able to pay it off, were taking a big risk. As were those who were lending the money.

Nov. 18 2011 10:19 AM
John from office

NYPD is the GREATEST police force in the world. Professional all the way. THEY DID THEIR JOBS!!!!!!!!


Nov. 18 2011 10:18 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Thomas from West Village, you're a model/ hero and inspiration. Really. Keep up the fight. Thanks.

Nov. 18 2011 10:18 AM
The Truth from Becky

I do agree with the underlying principals but, I am so over this now!!

Nov. 18 2011 10:18 AM

audit the fed

Nov. 18 2011 10:17 AM
art525 from Park SLope

Bloomberg says that the protesters weren't Occupy Wall Streeters but actually union workers. Are union workers not part of the 99%? I am so tired of Bloomberg and his distortions and lies on pretty much every issue. His spinning and distortion are so weak and transparent and it insults our intelligence.

Nov. 18 2011 10:17 AM

Perhaps Browne can tell us how many cops the NYPD has masquerading as protesters and trying to egg on protesters to acts that can "justify" NYPD crackdowns — as the NYPD has been proved to have done during the 2004 Republican National Convention and as it is now known to be doing in Muslim communities around the city.

Nov. 18 2011 10:16 AM
george from brooklyn

@HughSansom If you add in his wife's income and the assets he has, I am sure his life style is more representative and revolves around the 1%. He isn't on here to serve you buddy, he's here to serve the people that run the NYC. He knows very well what will happen to him if he fails to serve them.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
andy K

The last I saw was that NYPD's estimates were 32,650 protesters in Foley sq.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
Abdul from Brooklyn

I for one am grateful to Paul Browne and the NYPD for their efforts yesterday to protect us from having our lives disrupted.

I just hope Brian can ask him where the NYPD was in 2008/2009 to protect us when the actions of a few folks on wall street (and in other circles) disrupted the lives of millions.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
caitlin from brooklyn

OWS does not represent niche concerns! These are issues that effect the majority of Americans. Bloomberg is foolish to underestimate the numbers.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
MP from Brooklyn

I heard one of the protestors chanting something about the NYPD being sexist and racist. Walking right behind her were two black female cops. That made me laugh.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
Katherine Jackson from LES

Maybe the police say 5,000 "tops" to quote Brian, but check out Keith Olbermann and the OWS website police count. More like 20,000-35,000 at Foley Square and BBridge. This was huge, Brian! -- get your numbers right. Had you been there, you'd have known immediately the crowd was bigger than 5,000.

Nov. 18 2011 10:15 AM
Stefanie Weiss from West Village

What this officer said is insane and absurd. There was a MINIMUM of 20 thousand protesters in Foley Square and probably closer to 30k. It took hours and hours for all of us to get from Foely to the other side of the bridge. There were thousands and Union Square as well, and at least a thousand at the early morning action. The Bloomberg administration is trying to minimize the power of this movement. The pictures do not lie, don't know why the NYPD is trying to create this false story.

Nov. 18 2011 10:14 AM
Susan from nyc

The police, like our self-appointed Emperor Bloomberg, exhibit an antipathy toward democracy in all it's forms. Let's ask sharper questions, please.

Nov. 18 2011 10:14 AM
Thomas from West Village

I own my own business here in Manhattan and managed to get in 8 hours of protest and 8 hours of managing my restaurant yesterday!

Nov. 18 2011 10:14 AM
Melanie Teagle from Manhattan

I understand the removal of the OWS from the park was a countrywide simultaneous action orchestrated by Homeland Security. I think it's pathetic that those tossed from the park were not permitted to take their personal belongings. It flamed the fire among a peaceful group of protesters.

Nov. 18 2011 10:13 AM
Shabd Simon-Alexander from brooklyn, ny

In response to Bloomberg's comment that the rally last night did not represent the movement because it was unions calling for change that related to their concerns, and not the actual people in Zuccotti Park, that was precisely the point of the rally! The people in Zuccotti Park are not the entire movement, nor are they the entire 99%, they are representative of the 99% that include union workers, low and middle class citizens, civil servants, small business owners, students, the unemployed, and more.

Nov. 18 2011 10:13 AM

NYPD low paid??

Full pension after only 20 years. Cops in their 40's retiring with pay and full benefits...

I wish I had that sweetheart deal!!

Nov. 18 2011 10:13 AM
Janet from South Plainfield

I am a grandmother, never held a union job, member of Occupy Morristown in NJ. At least 1 of our members was in NY yesterday,and she's another grandma, ended up in Brooklyn, texted me in evening trying to make her way home. Yes the union swelled the ranks but this isn't about unions/non-unions, working/non-working. Not even rich/poor its about America remaining true to it's ideals of fairness.

Nov. 18 2011 10:13 AM
Scott from nyc

Looks like Wall Street will win this one. People are tired, and Wall Street keeps rolling.

Obama blew it by putting up all of American treasure to save the Bankers. That won't be an option next time around.

real change is coming to Wall Street, just not now.

Nov. 18 2011 10:12 AM

Browne makes at least $200,000 per year (more if he's received a raise in the last few years).

Browne says protesters always inflate numbers — probably true. The police invariably understate those numbers.

And Browne — at $200,000 — is in the top 3%.

Nov. 18 2011 10:12 AM

how much are the choppers

Nov. 18 2011 10:08 AM
steven from Manhattan

Paul Browne has one of the most unfortunate jobs ever -- although he's really good at it. He's paid well to be a full time professional spinner, cover-upper, obstructor of justice, and liar. His spin of NYPD actions is comical (if it weren't so tragic) to anyone who is actually witness to what really happened -- most of he says that I read in the press is 100% fantasy and often the opposite of reality.

Nov. 18 2011 10:06 AM

Perhaps Paul Browne can tell us how many times he's lied under oath (testilying, as Alan Dershowitz calls it) — regarding his presence at Critical Mass bike rides, for example.

What point is there in having a propagandist for Bloomberg and the NYPD when he is incapable of being truthful even on comparatively low-intensity political issues?

Nov. 18 2011 10:05 AM

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