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NYPD Raids Activists’ Homes Before May Day Protests
A day before Occupy Wall Street hopes to shut down New York and cities across the country in massive May Day protests, the NYPD visited at least three activist homes in New York and interrogated residents about plans for tomorrow's protest.
Today "there was definitely an upswing in law enforcement activity that seemed to fit the pattern of targeting what police might view as political residences," said Gideon Oliver, the president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which offers legal to support to Occupy Wall Street. "They were asking what are your May Day plans, do you know who the leaders are—these are classic political surveillance questions."
Oliver said the National Lawyer's Guild is aware of at least five instances of NYPD paying activists visits, including one where the FBI was involved in questioning. (He wouldn't elaborate.) We spoke to three of these activists.
In the first case: activist Zachary Dempster said that six NYPD officers broke down the door of his Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment at around 6:15am this morning. Dempster said they were armed with a warrant for the arrest of his roommate, musician Joe Crow Ryan, for a six-year-old open container violation. But Dempster believes this was an excuse to check in on him, as he'd been arrested in February at an Occupy Wall Street Party that was broken up by cops, and charged with assaulting a police office and inciting a riot.
After running his ID, a detective questioned Dempster in his bedroom for about five minutes about tomorrow's May Day protest, he said.
"They asked what I was doing tomorrow, and if I knew of any activities, any events—that was how the conversation started," Dempster said. Dempster said he's not planning doing much, as his case from February is still open. Dempster's roommate was also asked about him and May Day.