Lawrence O'Donnell called for the New York Police Department to fire certain officers who he called "thugs with badges," on his MSNBC show Wednesday night. O'Donnell was referring to officers who violated the force's "non-interference" order during altercations with members of the press who were covering Occupy Wall Street in mid-November.
According to a Capital New York article, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reissued the NYPD's "non-interference" order, after multiple New York news organizations complained about the treatment of journalists who were covering Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park in November.
As the NYPD cleared Zuccotti Park of protesters, officers prohibited journalists from entering the area, therefore prohibiting them from covering the story. Members of the press tweeted "media blackout," and others who tried to get passed officers said they were "roughed up" by officers' heavy hands.
Days later, some journalists were beaten and arrested when they tried to cover Occupy Wall Street protesters. O'Donnell reread the order, which was reportedly reread to all officers in the force.
Members of the service who unreasonably interfere with media access to incidents or who intentionally prevent or obstruct the photographing or videotaping of news in public places will be subject to disciplinary action. Members of the service will not interfere with the videotaping or photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference constitutes censorship. Media access to demonstrations on private property will not be impeded by the Department unless an owner or representative indicates press is not permitted. The media will be given access as close to the activity as possible with a clear line of site and within hearing range of the incident.
O'Donnell described the only way he believed the police force should deal "with the outlaw cops who willfully or ignorantly violate" the "non-interference" order. "They must be fired...The NYPD could fire every one of the thugs with badges who have attacked reporters this year and not miss them for a minute," O'Donnell said.
He added, "the actual, real crime rate would drop instantly because these police criminals would no longer be assaulting and battering the people of New York and New York reporters."