Occupy protesters won’t get the People’s books back, but they will get $230,000


Adrees Latif/Reuters

The group of protesters that started the Occupy Wall Street movement by camping out in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park have reached a settlement in an ongoing court case over books police confiscated.

The books, which Occupy protesters called the “People’s Library” were taken as part of a raid where police cleared campers out of the park in November 2011. Many of the 5,500 books were destroyed. Police also destroyed media equipment in the raid.

“Our court case against New York City’s various officials and agencies is over!,” the People’s Library wrote on its website Tuesday. “The city has settled with us.”

In the agreement New York City and Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, will pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in 2012, reports The Associated Press. The money will go to pay both legal fees and to cover the cost of the property destroyed in the raid.

“Our clients are pleased,” Normal Siegel, the lawyer who represented Occupy Wall Street, told the Village Voice. “We had asked for damages of $47,000 for the books and the computers, and we got $47,000. More important — we would not have settled without this — is the language in the settlement. This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books.”

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Occupy protesters won’t get the People’s books back, but they will get $230,000

  1. Look at those people in the picture…would you really want them running things??

    • Well William,

      I think these people were under the impression that what ‘runs things’ in a democracy is: the will of the people.

      You seem to be under the impression that we still live under Kings and Lords in western society, and that they are ‘running things’ for us. And that we simply get to decide *who* gets to ‘rule’ over us?

      Tell me, “William” ( a very princely name, btw)…why would you be under that impression? Perhaps because democracy is in the process of being shredded by those ‘in power’, or rather..by those whose power the internet is eroding?

      Is this what you want to happen, WIlliam?

    • Whoever said they wanted to run things?

      What they wanted is for those who *do* run things to acknowledge the problems that create.. well.. people like them.

  2. Yes, books were damaged or lost, as written in the settlement. Yes, concomitant furnishings 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 the “librarians” ADANDONED the material. 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.

    It was no longer their personal property because they relinquished their 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 the “librarians” abandoned the material so it was no longer their personal property. Admitting that personal property should be treated with due care is nice, but it was no longer their personal property.

    And had the case gone to trial, that would have been their big hurdle they 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 they will go on and bully people into thinking this is a big win for them and for civil rights and sets some kind of legal precedent despite the language of the settlement, but in reality, they lost and they never were going to win when they abandoned the books. They settled to save face because they had no case.

    As OJ’s attorney would say, if you have no case, you must save face.