Earlier this week, The Yes Men released a parody issue of the New York Post, chockablock with environmentalist fantasies, written in an attempt at the Post's bombastic style. In conjunction with the release of the fake newspaper, 21 people in Survivaballs began to wade into the East River in order to
"take the UN by storm" from the water, since all the land approaches were sealed. Once at the UN, they would supposedly use the Survivaballs to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until they'd agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has demanded.
It didn't take long, however, for the cops to arrive, pass out a handful of trespassing tickets and arrest the ringleader, Andy Bichlbaum. So far, fairly standard civil disobedience stuff. The charges were subsequently dismissed and this would be totally uninteresting but for the criminal complaint, in which the arresting officer attested to things that he couldn't possibly have seen.
"The officer said he'd seen Bichlbaum jump over the fence, which was obviously impossible, since the police arrived after the Survivaballs had all entered the beach," said [Wylie] Stecklow, who defended Bichlbaum at his arraignment … "And the officer said there were prominent signs posted to the effect that entering was forbidden – also untrue."
Sadly, the falsification of police reports to support arrests is also fairly standard civil disobedience stuff. For example, this video merges video of police misconduct at a 2007 Critical Mass bike rally with the whitewashing of that conduct in the subsequent police reports. At a 2008 Critical Mass rally, a more famous video of an officer tackling a cyclist off of his bicycle in 2008 made clear that the assault charges filed against the rider, including the allegation that the cyclist "steered into him" were complete fiction.
It is small consolation that the officer in the 2007 incidents were investigated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and possibly Internal Affairs (results apparently pending) and that the officer in 2008 resigned and is himself facing charges for assault and filing a false report because their actions imply that it is SOP for NYPD officers to lie so brazenly.
Disclosure: I was part of a brainstorming session for the fake New York Post (I don't know if any of my ideas made the final cut), and contributed an article to the New York Times parody last year.
Last 5 posts by Charles
- If You Watch the Tape, You'll Still See What You Want To - September 29th, 2015
- On Dying - April 6th, 2014
- Not All Layers of An Onion Are Equally Worth Peeling Back - February 26th, 2013
- Did someone mention consistency? - February 5th, 2013
- Is That A Mote In Your Dog's Eye? - April 17th, 2012