Fordham Law

Leitner Center Releases Report about Widespread Rights Violations in Policing of 'Occupy' Movement

July 26, 2012

Fordham Law's Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic has co-authored a report that details instances of police misconduct during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In the 132-page report, "Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street," the Leitner Clinic and NYU Law's Global Justice Clinic catalog 130 specific alleged incidents of excessive police force, and hundreds of additional violations, including unjustified arrests, abuse of journalists, unlawful closure of sidewalks and parks to protesters, and pervasive surveillance of peaceful activists.

"The U.S. response to the Occupy movement—which itself emerged as part of a wave of global social justice protests—is being closely watched by other governments,” said Leitner Center Human Rights Clinical Teaching Fellow Katherine Glenn, one of the report's principal authors. "In the face of this international attention, this report shows that New York City’s response actually violates international law and, as such, sets a bad example to the rest of the world. The city now has an opportunity to set this right through reforms that reflect just and accountable policing practices.”

The report calls for urgent state action, including

  • The creation of an independent Inspector General for the NYPD
  • A full and impartial review of the city’s response to OWS
  • Investigations and prosecutions of responsible officers
  • The creation of new NYPD protest policing guidelines to protect against rights violations

The report is the first in a series by the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, a national consortium of law school clinics addressing the United States response to Occupy Wall Street.

Read media coverage of the report:

The New York Times City Room blog
Chicago Tribune
The Atlantic