When the New York Police Department swooped into Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011, they destroyed a great deal of property that had been carefully collected and assembled by Occupy Wall Street. Among this property was the People's Library, set up at the northeastern corner of the park and consisting of thousands of donated titles. Many of these titles were rendered completely useless due to the rough handling of the NYPD during the early-morning raid.
Books from the People's Library were destroyed during the NYPD's raid of Zuccotti Park last fall. (Photo credit: http://peopleslibrary.wordpress.com/#)
Now, in addition to encouraging the building of digital People's Libraries and setting up on a smaller scale in Union Square Park, organizers of the OWS library are suing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others over the destruction of their property last fall. According to a Village Voice article, which I've reblogged below, OWS is seeking $47,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000 in punitive damages. More than 2,000 books were confiscated and subsequently lost or damaged, and six library computers, a wireless Internet device, and shelving attached to the library were also destroyed. Norman Siegel, the attorney representing OWS, said, "Anyone in the Bloomberg administration, including the mayor, who thought they could get away with this, well, it's six months later and we're now in Federal Court."
Village Voice * May 24, 2012
Occupy Wall Street Sues Bloomberg and New York City Over Library Destruction
Six months after the New York Police Department launched a secretive dead-of-night military-style operation to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, conducting mass arrests and destroying thousands of dollars worth of property, Mayor Bloomberg, Police Chief Ray Kelly, and others are being sued in federal court.
The lawsuit asks for $47,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. But in recognition that sanitation employees, who the city doesn't indemnify against punitive damages, might get stuck with the bill, Occupy Wall Street took the unusual step of limiting its request for punitive damages to $1,000.