Photographers, city council members sue NYC for systematic violations of civil rights during Occupy Wall Street

“The claims arise from a series of incidents in connection with Occupy Wall Street protests beginning in and around September 17, 2011 and continuing to the present day in which the City of New York in concert with various private and public entities have employed Officers of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) and others acting under color of state law, to intentionally and willfully subject Plaintiffs and the public to, among other things, violations of rights to free speech, assembly, freedom of the press, false arrest, excessive force, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution and, furthermore, purposefully obstructing Plaintiffs carrying out their duties as elected officials and members of the press, including oversight of the New York City Police Department.” -Rodriguez Et Al v. Winski Et Al. First Amended Complaint (pdf, scribd link)

We’ve written before about photographers being abused while covering protests in New York City. Now, photographers Stephanie Keith, Charles Meacham, the National Press Photographers’ Association (see their blog about the case), five NYC city council members, and others, have joined in a federal lawsuit against various New York City entities and officials, including Mayor Bloomberg, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and a number of identified and unidentified police officers, as well as JP Morgan Chase and other businesses in the Occupy Wall Street area, alleging that they engaged in the intentional obstruction of news-gathering activities, the business of elected officials, and Constitutionally-protected protest activities. The complaint can be read in it’s entirety here. In an NPPA press release about the lawsuit, a quotation summarizes photographer Stephanie Keith’s complaints against the city and others, “I joined this lawsuit because as a working journalist I’ve been arrested, thrown to the ground, hit with batons and yelled at by the NYPD while doing my job on assignment. I have seen my fellow journalists being treated this way as well. Why should journalists be subjected to trauma inducing harassment on the job?”

(via PDNpulse)

Civil Rights photographer Charles Moore dies at 79

Charles Moore - Powerful Days

One of my favorites from the old guard of photojournalism passed away on Thursday. Charles Moore, whose name you might know but whose photos you’ve definitely seen, created a striking and complete visual history of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s through his work with Life magazine and other publications. John Kaplan (as part of a 1998 project for his Ohio University Masters of Science Degree in Journalism) has written a great history of Moore’s Civil Rights work that is not to be missed. Represented by Black Star throughout his career, Matt and I both got a chance to work with Moore’s negatives while interning at the agency a few years back. Seeing those negatives firsthand was a visual education like no other. His Civil Rights work was eventually collected in the 1991 book Powerful Days, still available on Amazon for a reasonable price.