Occupy Wall Street Wins $350K for Damage During Zuccotti Raid
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The city has agreed to pay more than $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Occupy Wall Street protestors who claimed thousands of books — along with computers, bikes and other property — were destroyed when police raided Zuccotti Park in November 2011.
Protesters claimed the city ruined 2,600 books that were part of what was known as the People’s Library, a makeshift collection of books set up in Zuccotti for anyone to peruse, when police cleared the park on Nov. 15, 2011.
Protesters asked for $47,000 in damages for the library — which included tomes by authors including Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2001 book, “Bloomberg By Bloomberg” — in their suit filed in Manhattan federal court in February.
They were awarded all $47,000 as part of the settlement, and their lawyer, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, collected $186,349 in legal fees.
The city also agreed to pay $75,000 to Global Revolution Television, a media group active in the park, for broken electronic equipment, as well as $49,850 in legal fees for their lawyer Wylie Stecklow.
Times Up New York, a bike group, also won $8,500 for damaged bicycles. They were represented by lawyer Samuel Cohen.
"This is a victory for our clients," Siegel said. "When the city violates your rights, you challenge them — you don't back down."
Brookfield Properties, the park’s owner, will contribute about $16,000 to the settlement, according to the agreement.
"It was absolutely necessary for the City to address the rapidly growing safety and health threats posed by the Occupy Wall street encampment," a city Law Department spokeswoman said in a statement. "There are many reasons to settle a case, and sometimes that includes avoiding the potential for drawn out litigation that bolsters plaintiff attorney fees.”
Brookfield and the NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.