Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has responded affirmatively to demands for an end to the use of suppressive
tactics against working journalists such as were used November 15th against reporters trying to cover the
purge from Zuccotti Park of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters.
Police kept reporters far away from the park during the rout. Some reporters were roughed up by police
and more than 20 were arrested.
Later that day, in an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, the New York Press Club condemned
NYPD's actions, called for an investigation into the abuses and soon after, invited other press groups to form a
coalition to monitor NYPD actions.
Prominent publishers and broadcasters also sent a letter to Commissioner Kelly's public information deputy,
Paul Browne, detailing several of the assaults and requesting a meeting to discuss the situation.
Following that meeting, Commissioner Kelly distributed an internal message that was read to officers in
every precincnt city-wide, ordering them not to unreasonably interfere with media access during news coverage
and warning that disciplinary action is possibile if the order is ignored.
The commissioner's letter makes clear that officers have a duty to provide access and information about ongoing
investigations at emergency scenes to the extent they can.
"Supervisors may restrict access to an incident scene only in those exceptional circumstances where it is absolutely
necessary for law enforcement or public order purposes," Kelly's message says.