Media Round-Up: OWS v. Bloomberg Settlement

Although the People’s Library plans to hold a press conference tomorrow (Wednesday, April 10, at 11 AM, at 260 Madison Avenue) there is a great deal of attention on your library in the press tonight. So I wanted to round it up here and share how the story is shaping up in the media so far:

The New York Times opens with “As myriad court battles pitting the Occupy Wall Street movement against New York City agencies proceed, protesters claimed a victory on Tuesday, based not on how they were treated, but on how their books were mistreated.” read more…

The Atlantic reports “Fans of justice will be glad to hear that New York City will pay for all those books and all that media equipment that the police trashed when it famously raided the Occupy Wall Street camp on November 15, 2011.” read more…

Reuters reports “New York City has agreed to pay Occupy Wall Street protesters more than $100,000 for property damaged or lost when police cleared out their encampment in a downtown Manhattan park in 2011, according to court documents signed on Tuesday.” read more…

The Wall Street Journal uses the AP story and writes “There’s been a settlement in the lawsuit filed over the seizure of the Occupy Wall Street library at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.”read more…

The Village Voice says “In an agreement announced today, the City of New York will pay more than $365,000 to settle a lawsuit bought by people whose property was destroyed when the New York Police Department raided Zuccotti Park and evicted Occupy Wall Street on November 15, 2001.”read more…

Gawker writes that “Occupy Wall Street won a major legal battle earlier today when it agreed to a settlement from the city of New York that will pay the activist group over $230,000 in damages and legal fees. ” read more…

New York Magazine reports “New York City and Zuccotti Park owner Brookfield Properties have agreed to pay $366,700 to settle a lawsuit over the chaotic November 2011 police raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment at the plaza. “read more…



Filed under 11/15 Eviction, Announcements, Free Speech, Lawsuit, Rob

23 responses to “Media Round-Up: OWS v. Bloomberg Settlement

  1. Pingback: Media Round-Up: OWS v. Bloomberg Settlement

  2. Pingback: News and Calls to Action from Occupy Wall Street | OccuWorld

  3. Stache

    Glad to hear justice was served! How come none of the quoted articles agree on the amount of the settlement?

  4. John

    Congratulations on winning the lawsuit. And here is a little police video, released by anonymous, of OWS ‘abandoning’ the library.

  5. jveazue

    Reblogged this on JANINEVEAZUE.

  6. I’m trying to understand how the religious artifacts of the Altar Space were not somehow a part of this suit… Does this open the potential to regain back and be repaid damages for other lost items?

    • Michael

      Occupy Yoga: This is a great question. As I’m sure many others do, I have fairly good photos of the altar at one point during the occupation, as well as photos of large meditation circles/religious services going on at Liberty. I suppose this depends on the interest of working groups and individuals in pursuing the case – but the altar was in every sense a religious space full of artifacts, and like any public shrine where people leave offerings was certainly entitled to protection.

  7. The library wasn’t ‘abandoned’ the police forced OWS out of the park. How were they to gather an entire library when they were being violently evicted?

    • Here is evidence: “The Occupy Wall Street Library Regrows in Manhattan,” by Christian Zabriskie, American Libraries, 16 November 2011: “He was also quick to point out that, while he had helped to build and maintain the collection knowing full well that the park would probably be cleared eventually, the manner in which it was done hit him hard.”

      That’s an admission against interest. That statement means no harm was done as they *knew* the “library” would be cleared. And when they were given notice to clear the “library,” they did not.

  8. Pingback: settled that lawsuit | Betsy Fagin

  9. The New York Times made it clear it was just a “collection” of books, not a real library. So, really, you lost.

    • The point was not for the city to officially recognize us as a library but rather to recognize that, a) destroying people’s property is wrong, and b) that what happened at OWS was a civil liberties issue. With this case being won, this sets a precedent in the legal field, which is something I definitely put in the “win” category.

      • It wasn’t a civil liberties issue. It was a garbage issue. You were lawfully asked to leave the park. You were provided with adequate time to do so. You chose to leave and to leave the books. In other words, you abandoned the books.

        This is a settlement. It is an effort to get rid of a nuisance suit. Had this case gone before the judge, there would have been sufficient evidence to show you were legally asked to move, that you complied with that order, and that you abandoned the books. This was done likely hoping they would be discarded, then you would claim a violation of your civil rights. And that’s exactly what you did.

        Clever, but it’s not a win.

      • Michael

        Dan’s a familiar troll on our blog, as should be obvious from his comment above “So, really, you lost.” which is meant to turn a complex issue into a binary of win/lose. This is without question, as we all know, and as is being widely reported, a victory in terms of the lawsuit, which is what matters in this instance. The key text is the following quote from the settlement which refutes all of Dan’s assertions about the library: “Defendants acknowledge and believe it unfortunate that, during the course of clearing Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011, books were damaged so as to render them unusable, and additional books are unaccounted for. Defendants further acknowledge and believe it unfortunate that certain library furnishings and equipment likewise were damaged so as to render them unusable, and other library furnishings and equipment may be unaccounted for. Plaintiffs and Defendants recognize that when a person’s property is removed by the City it is important that the City exercise due care and adhere to established procedures in order to protect the legal rights of the property owners.”

        • Michael, your case is so weak you need to respond to “a familiar troll”? Your case is so weak you need to make ad hominem arguments? Very impressive.

          Also, the text you cited says things to which anyone would agree. Yes, books were damaged or lost. Yes, concomitant furnishing were damaged or lost. Yes, due care should be taken when personal property is removed and procedures must be followed.

          But that is irrelevant because that is not the issue. The issue is that you ADANDONED the material. It was not longer your personal property because you relinquished your ownership of that material. Besides, if it’s the “people’s” “library,” then there essentially is no ownership anyway, but that’s an aside.

          The point is you abandoned the material so it was no longer your personal property. Admitting that personal property should be treated with due care is nice, but it was not longer your personal property.

          And had the case gone to trial, that would have been your big hurdle you would not have been able to surmount.

          Frankly, this is a win for the City and the taxpayers, getting out of this nuisance suit so cheaply.

          Now you can go on and bully people into thinking this is a big win for you and some kind of legal precedent, but in reality, you lost and you never were going to win when you abandoned the books.

          • TheLuddbrarian

            Having seen Mr. Kleinman’s comments on numerous other library blogs/sites I recognize that he is a fellow who cares deeply about libraries. That being said, it may also be true that the librarianship values and thoughts on libraries prevalent amongst the OWS Librarians share little with Mr. Kleinman’s thoughts on libraries. There is nothing wrong with some disagreement.
            Without wanting to engage in a “comment battle” with Mr. Kleinman—which is not the same as a conversation as it provides little space for actual nuance [or respect], and which too often degenerates into a shouting match—I nevertheless felt it incumbent upon me to directly respond to Mr. Kleinman’s charge of “abandonment,” as such is a serious charge.
            On the night of the raid the NYPD moved in very quickly to close off the park. Those who were not within the park at that moment were unable to get inside, and of those who were inside they were not able to return after being forced out. There were several members of the library-working group in the park but as information about the raid spread throughout the rest of the group many others (who were not in the park) tried to get there. They tried to get to the park to—amongst other things—get to the library.
            However, we could not get into the park, I do not know that it is proper to suggest that the working group “abandoned” the library when we were barred from getting to the library. Furthermore, as there was no forewarning of the raid the working group did not have an opportunity to move any of the library out of the park. After all, as anybody who has spent much time in a library should know, it takes a lot of time, a number of focused people, and additional resources (such as access to a vehicle) to move thousands of books. The working group did not abandon the library, we were barred from rescuing it. I tried to get to the library that night; I was prevented from reaching it.
            “Abandon” suggests that we had given up, that we did not care, that we did not try; but we had not given up, we did care, and we did try. We were prevented from reaching the library. And those few librarians who were present at the time, were not enough to save thousands of books. Trying and being prevented from acting is not the same as abandoning.
            As Mr. Kleinman has been following—and commenting upon—the People’s Library for quite some time I am sure that he recalls that at an earlier threatened “cleaning” prompted the working group to work tirelessly for nearly twenty four hours in order to get the library to safety. Hardly abandonment. What occurred on that night in November was not us abandoning the library, we were physically prevented from reaching it. Having read some of his postings I feel that Mr. Kleinman sees himself as an excellent librarian—and he very well may be an excellent librarian—but I doubt that even he could singlehandedly save several thousand books in a single trip.
            As somebody who spent days sifting through and carefully processing the fraction of books that we managed to recover I find the comment “abandoned” rather ridiculous, and frankly discourteous. The only “abandon” on display that night was the reckless abandon with which Brookfield and the NYPD acted.
            Mr. Kleinman, I do not for a moment doubt that you truly have a great affection for libraries, and it is ultimately up to you, Mr. Kleinman, to decide how you will interpret what occurred and it is up to you to decide how you will view the settlement. Mr. Kleinman, I doubt that we agree on terribly much, but I would respectfully request that you accord your fellow librarians a bit more respect. This is not a challenge to you sir, I ask for and require no response. But the world of libraries requires productivity not sniping.
            You care about libraries Mr. Kleinman. And so do we.

            • Forgive, I just posted this above, but it applies here as well:

              Here is part of the evidence of abandonment: “The Occupy Wall Street Library Regrows in Manhattan,” by Christian Zabriskie, American Libraries, 16 November 2011: “He was also quick to point out that, while he had helped to build and maintain the collection knowing full well that the park would probably be cleared eventually, the manner in which it was done hit him hard.”

              That’s an admission against interest. That statement means no harm was done as they knew the “library” would be cleared. And when they were given notice to clear the “library,” they did not.

              And, Zachary, allow me to presume you are the Zachary in the article I cited, so let me expand:

              “This is why I became a librarian, this is why I went to library school,” Library Working Group member Zachary Loeb said of the rebuilding. He was also quick to point out that, while he had helped to build and maintain the collection knowing full well that the park would probably be cleared eventually, the manner in which it was done hit him hard.

              So, Zachary. we have a document from 16 November 2011 showing one “Zachary Loeb” admitting that he know the “library” would eventually have to be removed, it’s just that the “manner in which it was done hit him hard,” and that’s not actionable, and that why the case settled, because it never would have been won.

              That said, you are exactly correct about comments, and I really appreciate this discussion with you.

            • Michael

              Although I think there’s little value in engaging with the troll, this troll who has popped up here frequently in the past and who takes the same position over and over without having ever been present for any of the life of the library or any of the events he speaks about… I would just add to Zach’s reply, that since Dan was never at the library, and not involved in the library, Dan doesn’t know that we did on one prior occasion (as Zach mentions) move the library out of the park to rescue it from destruction. A case, which refutes once again all of his baseless claims which he makes by piecing together whatever he reads online into paranoid conspiracy theories about us and the library and the occupation in general, which he happens to also be aligned against to begin with.

              • Zachary, you were very polite and we are having civil dialogue. Would you please consider pulling Michael aside, not here online unless you wish, and explain to him that attacking the messenger only evidences desperation and a lack of substantive argument?

                Also explain that desperation leads to loose lips which sink ships. “[W]e did on one prior occasion (as Zach mentions) move the library out of the park to rescue it from destruction.” That does not help your case as it shows you knew or should have known that the “library” was indeed ephemeral, and it is totally in line with that previous statement that “the park would probably be cleared eventually.”


                • TheLuddbrarian


                  As I stated previously, I am of the opinion that the comments section on blogs is not conducive to constructive or helpful conversations. Such interactions—removed as they are from the manners of actual inter human communications—frequently devolve into shouting matches and can be easily filled with impolite moments. As I also stated before I am more than willing to give you—Mr. Kleinman—credit for caring about libraries.

                  You quoted from an article in which a librarian expressed a sentiment of knowing “full well that the park would probably be cleared eventually, the manner in which it was done hit me hard.” From this it seems—forgive me if this is an incorrect reading—that you are drawing the conclusion that we always knew that the library would be destroyed. I think that looking over the statement again provides the opposite impression. The library in the park was temporary, fair enough, and the occupation in the park would end eventually, but by overly focusing on the “would probably be cleared eventually” you are neglecting to give proper attention to “the manner in which it was done.” The library, after all, could be moved from the park.

                  Libraries are moved frequently. This happens. Many a library has its materials in one location, and then at some point they realize that the materials need to be moved and they do so. It would be easy to argue that all libraries, in this way, are “ephemeral” from the People’s Library to NYPL (which has just shifted many of the books from its central location to offsite storage). We may have always known that there would come a day where we would need to move the library out, and on that day we would have been prepared to move the library. Recognizing that a location is not permanent does not mean that you fetishize the location at the expense of all else. And goodness knows (although in fairness you and many others may not know [this is not meant as a criticism]) that members of the working group have spent many months stewarding and safeguarding what we recovered from the library. From storage units, to temporary homes, to cramped apartments, we never abandoned these materials (indeed they are in many of our apartments still).

                  Your quote is a correct quotation, but the conclusion that you draw from it is based on a rather narrow reading of the quote. Again, to focus on the “would probably be cleared” without matching it to the shock and surprise at “the manner in which it was done,” is to fail to recognize that libraries need to be moved sometimes and the librarians proceed to move the libraries. One can recognize that the park “would probably be cleared” and still not believe that the city would go about it in the way that they did.

                  As for the speculation on the settlement, the “actionable” comment, and other such points, it is at this point just so many pages that we have already read. You need not agree with the settlement, but it has happened, and mulling over “what ifs” is even less productive than most discussions in the “comment” sections on blogs.

                  As I said in my previous posting, this is a moment where there is a lot of creative thinking and working needed in the library world. We should be focusing on the work at hand, instead of squabbling over a settlement that is already behind us.

                  I wish you well Mr. Kleinman, but this conversation ceased being productive several postings ago. Let us respectfully agree to disagree and continue working for the betterment of libraries.

                  As I wrote before, I believe that you truly care about libraries. So do we. But I am convinced—and this not meant as a slight against you—that nothing I could possibly write here would change your opinion of what happened. You are welcome to point to quotes from magazine articles as “definitive proof” of your theories, but I was there, I remember what happened, and I disagree with your interpretation of quotes and events.

                  Truly, Mr. Kleinman, I wish you could have come to the park and seen the library for yourself in person. I feel that if you had, and if you had taken the time to speak constructively and respectfully with us we all could have emerged with a greater respect for how much we all truly care about libraries.

                  So good day to you Mr. Kleinman, but I feel that this conversation has run its course. There is nothing else productive for either of us to gain—or contribute—by quibbling.

                  This has been an amusing discussion in the break room but now it is time for us all to return to work. There are books to be shelved.

                  Zachary Loeb

  10. Pingback: Media Round-Up: OWS v. Bloomberg Settlement | OccuWorld

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