The Cutline

Naomi Wolf arrested while defending Occupy Wall Street protesters

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Cutline

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(Mike Shane/Animal New York)

Author and activist Naomi Wolf was among about a dozen people arrested on Tuesday night outside of a Huffington Post event in New York.

A group of approximately 50 demonstrators from Occupy Wall Street showed up at the event--held at Skylight Studios in Manhattan--to protest in front of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was being honored as a "game changer" by Arianna Huffington's site.

Wolf, who contributes regularly to the Huffington Post, was a guest at the event. According to Gothamist, the modern feminist icon challenged a police officer's claim that the protesters needed a permit to use a megaphone.

"After numerous warnings that she would be arrested," Bucky Turco wrote on the Animal New York blog, "she ignored the police and was promptly arrested."

It was rare appearance together for Andrew Cuomo and his father, Mario. (Onstage, Andrew made no mention of the protests outside.)

Wolf, pictured, was cuffed and carted away with several others.

According to Gothamist, the protesters left the event to march to the 1st Precinct, where Wolf had been taken by police. She was released from police custody early Wednesday.

UPDATE: Below, Wolf's statement and video of her arrest.

"I have been released from custody," Wolf wrote on her Facebook page. "I was completely complying with the law and the permit as it was described to me by police and I was arrested for standing lawfully on the sidewalk."

She continued:

The protesters were being told that they needed to leave the sidewalk outside of the Huffington Post event because "Huffington Post had a permit" to control the use of the sidewalk. I have a chapter in Give Me Liberty on NYC permits so I knew that could not be accurate. Sidewalks are public spaces and can't be leased by private entities. I asked for a copy of the permit. A spokesman finally acknowledged that the permit allowed for pedestrian access as long as it did not obstruct foot traffic on the sidewalk.

I said, okay, we won't obstruct pedestrian traffic, we will just walk. SO I invited the OWS protesters to come back from across the street and walk with me in a single file so no one obstructed the flow of pedestrians. A phalanx of white-shirted police then approached us and with a megaphone said, "you are disobeying a lawful order to disperse and will be arrested. I approached (respectfully and peacefully) the officer with the megaphone and said I was confused: the permit allowed us to walk if we did not obstruct traffic and we were not doing so. He stood before me and said "Will you get out of my way?" I did not say anything but I could not fall back because I knew he was misinterpreting the law. The sidewalks were being properly handled by the protesters even according to the restrictive permit. I did not step aside so he indicated that I should be cuffed, and my hands were cuffed behind me with plastic handcuffs. My partner and I were taken, cuffed, in a police van to I believe the seventh precinct (they had planned to take us to the first, I am so grateful to protesters who appeared on our behalf at the first) where we were held in separate cells for about half an hour. My cell had blood or feces on the wall. The staff were very courteous. But I was told that I would be released with a summons but that if I rejoined the protesters and got arrested my fingerprints would be taken, the sergeant gestured at a camera and said my photo would be taken, it would all be entered into a federal database and follow me forever. He also said if I spoke I should be careful not to say anything that could be construed as 'inciting a riot.' I said hadn't broken the law—my summons was for 'disorderly conduct. Many witnesses will confirm I stood perfectly still and addressed the officer with great courtesy. I said that we hadn't broken the law according to the permit in question. He said that when an officer deems a situation as safety issue, it trumps the permit. I asked, then how can any situation not be subject to an officer deeming it a 'safety issue'? He did not explain but gave me a section of the criminal code to look up.

I was arrested for disorderly conduct although my conduct was peaceful respectful law-abiding and orderly. I was arrested for not backing down when a police officer told me contrary to what I knew about the law and the permit process that a private entity owned the sidewalk. He was mistaken and I was correct. I behaved entirely lawfully and my arrest was unlawful.

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