Over the weekend, thousands descended on Wall Street to protest corporate greed and the unpatriotic financial transactions that have plunged the country into economic ruin. Say what you will about these people, their cause is noble.
Despite the numbers, only a handful of people were arrested and most of those were for mostly flippant reasons.
The New York Times reports that some activists were charged with “jumping a police barrier” and another woman for writing on the sidewalk with chalk, which is not a crime and currently the central focus of a lawsuit against the city by artist Ellis G.
Meanwhile, at least four people were busted for wearing masks. Yes, wearing masks. Citing an archaic New York State law from from 1845, which forbids anyone from having their face “painted, discolored, covered or concealed, or being otherwise disguised.” According to Slingshot! magazine, the law was “adopted to thwart armed insurrections by Hudson Valley tenant farmers who dressed and painted themselves as Native Americans to attack law enforcement officers over rent issues” and was later resurrected in 1965 to “criminalize transvestites and drag queens who wore too much make-up for the authorities to bear.”
Talk about selective prosecution. It’s good thing this obscure provision is often ignored. Otherwise, just think how badly they could sweep up on October 31st. Until then, the occupation and arrests continue. (Photo: Jim Kiernan/Flickr)
Below is some bonus video of the NYPD doing what they do best: escalating shit!