Nadler, on NYPD, ‘increasingly worried about the delicate balance of public safety and civil liberties’

Jerrold Nadler. (Jerrold Nadler, via flickr)
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After Occupy Wall Street protesters and police officers clashed in and around Zuccotti Park this weekend, on the six-month anniversary the movement, Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler, whose district includes the downtown area that served as a base for the Occupy protests, called for a federal probe into allegations that police mistreated demonstrators and journalists. Nadler issued a similar call after the NYPD broke up the original encampment in Zuccotti Park last year.

"I am disturbed yet again by allegations of police misconduct and excessive force used against Occupy Wall Street protesters during this weekend’s demonstrations," Nadler said in a public statement this afternoon.

"Once again, I call on Attorney General Holder to launch a thorough investigation into law enforcement activities surrounding Occupy Wall Street – and its national offshoots – to determine whether the police have indeed violated the civil liberties of demonstrators or members of the media."

Nadler's earlier call for the U.S. attorney general was harshly criticized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called it "ridiculous." The mayor went on to insinuate that the economic and social conditions motivating people to protest wouldn't be so bad if "he could get us more federal moneys."

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Nadler's criticisms of the NYPD go beyond its handling of the Occupy demonstrations. His office sent a follow-up statement calling complaints about the NYPD's surveillance program and its application of stop-and-frisk tactics "extremely troubling," and said he's "increasingly worried about the delicate balance of public safety and civil liberties being upended by certain NYPD efforts."

"Allegations of excessive force used against demonstrators and members of the media, a wrong-headed stop and frisk policy, and a counterterrorism program that appears to fundamentally overreach are all of real concern to me," Nadler said. "I firmly believe that our able and well-trained police force is capable of keeping the peace, fighting crime, and rooting out terrorism without trampling on individual liberties."