Occupy Wall Street Lawyers Drop Legal Challenge to Zuccotti Park Eviction

Lawyers for Occupy Wall Street dropped a court challenge to the forcible eviction by New York police of protesters from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan in November, according to the city law department.

Lawyers for Occupy sued the city after demonstrators who had been camping there to protest income inequality were evicted from the park on Nov. 15. New York state Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman denied the request the next day, saying that the protesters hadn’t shown they had a First Amendment right to stay in the park.

“We think the plaintiff made the right move in withdrawing her case, as it has no merit,” Sheryl Neufeld, senior counsel for the city’s law department, said in a statement.

The demonstrations began on Sept. 17 when several dozen protesters took up residence in the park to highlight the plight of average Americans who have suffered from home foreclosures and soaring unemployment while the largest U.S. banks have recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.

The protests attracted thousands to Zuccotti Park and spread to U.S. cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as overseas to London, Rome and Tokyo.

1,800 Charged

The demonstrators refer to themselves as “the 99 percent,” a reference to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s study showing the richest 1 percent of the population control 40 percent of U.S. wealth.

More than 1,800 people have been charged in connection with the protests in New York since they began in September, according to the New York City Police Department. Gideon Oliver, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild who is representing Occupy Wall Street protesters, and Melissa Coley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield Properties (BPO), the owner of Zuccotti Park, didn’t immediately return telephone messages seeking comment.

The case is In the Matter of the Application of Jennifer Waller v. City of New York, 112957/2011, New York state Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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