Alexander Arbuckle went on trial for disorderly conduct in the Occupy Wall Street protest early on New Years' Day. However, he won his case due to the video footage of a journalist.
In what Occupy Wall Street are calling a victory of justice, Arbuckle had his day in court (well two days) before being found not guilty.
Over the past few months since Occupy Wall Street began in September 2011, hundreds of protesters have been arrested. However, it was photographer and citizen journalist Alexander Arbuckle's case that came up first for trial.
He was arrested for allegedly blocking traffic during a protest march early on New Years' Day and was charged with disorderly conduct. The arresting officer testified under oath that Arbuckle, along with other protesters, was standing in the street in spite of numerous requests for them to move onto the sidewalk.
However, when it came to trial his lawyers had a video tape taken by a well-known journalist, Tim Pool. The video footage clearly shows the whole event including Arbuckle and OWS protesters standing on the sidewalk. It further shows that it was the police who were blocking traffic and not the protesters. The full video can be viewed here. In the full video the section which is relevant to the case starts around 31:50 and ends at around 35:00. An extract of the video is shown above this article.
This video caused the Judge to make a verdict of not guilty and to state that this was a clear indication that the NYPD is over-policing the Occupy protests.
Arbuckle is a political science and photography major at NYU, and ironically he felt the police were not being fairly represented in the media. He had stated, “All the focus was on the conflict and the worst instances of brutality and aggression, where most of the police I met down there were really professional and restrained.”
Equally ironically, he was not even part of the protest and is not a member of the Occupy movement. However, despite his good intentions of showing the NYPD in a good light, he was arrested and put on trial.
As is the case in all Occupy arrests, the police offered Arbuckle an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). What this means is that he would be let off the offence, provided he agreed not to fight the charges. However, Arbuckle felt that would mean an admission of guilt and he decided to proceed to trial.
Arbuckle's lawyer told the Village Voice, "What's happening is very similar to what happened in 2004 with the Republican National Convention. It's just a symptom of how the NYPD treats dissent. But what has changed is that there is more prevalence of video. It really makes our job a lot easier to have that video."
Thanks to the diligence of Tim Pool, Arbuckle easily won his case and has given Occupy Wall Street hope for the future.