By Todd Maisel
> (NEW YORK, 1 POLICE PLAZA) – Photographers will have maximum access to
> demonstrators and incidents in New York City during the Republican
> National Convention vowed Paul Browne, Deputy Commissioner for Public
> Information for the NYPD. He promised media representatives at the
> August 12 joint meeting of the National Press Photographers and New
> York Press Photographers that his office will be available 24 hours a
> day to intercede with police and photographers to maintain freedom of
> the press. Commissioner Brown also promised the nearly 150
> photographers from throughout the country that police will respect all
> out-of-town media credentials, as long as they have photo
> identification and the credentials are not expired. This also applies
> to foreign press, though some may need temporary credentials issued if
> theirs are not in English and recognizable to members of the NYPD.
> Others could request
> assistance from the NYPD if they believe their credentials might be a
> NYPD representatives from Browne’s office will be available at various
> sites to assist photographers who have problems with police. A command
> post will be established for media to talk with police officials at
> West 31st Street just west of 8th Avenue, to be staffed 24 hours a
> day. Police Plaza is already staffed for media requests 24 hours a day
> for in-person or call-in assistance at 646-610-6700. In addition,
> Browne said police will have a command center with Secret Service at
> the Republican National Convention inside Madison Square Garden for
> the duration of the convention. This site is accessible only to those
> with RNC credentials issued by the Senate Press Gallery. Also, a space
> and a riser will be constructed in front of 5 Penn Plaza on Eighth
> Avenue that will serve as the main site for press briefings by NYPD
> and other government officials.
> To inform the media of events and updates, the NYPD will put any media
> members on an eMail list. Any members of the media who want to be on
> the mass eMail list may send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Browne, who
> spent half his career as a reporter at the New York Daily News, said
> the eMail listing will make available a constant stream of information
> on demonstrations, daily events, and incidents involving arrests at
> various planned and unplanned sites around the city.
> “This is an important tool to know what is going on, not only at the
> convention itself, but other events around the city and even at the US
> Open,” Browne said. “It does no good for us to sit on info and this
> way we make it as relevant as possible. If there are arrests for
> disorderly conduct, we should try to answer what did ‘discon’ mean
> here – did someone block traffic or something else like smash windows
> at Starbucks? If we know there are 20 people at Wall Street, we will
> put out an advisory.”
> Press and treatment at public incidents
> Police officials vowed to provide as much access to incidents as
> possible, though photographers are advised to give as much space to
> police to do their job as possible. Photographers wearing any type of
> riot gear, including helmets, are advised to make sure they are marked
> with clear “press” identifiers so as not to be confused with some of
> the anarchists who may be wearing helmets to demonstrations. He also
> said police “do not use tear gas” and so gas masks are not necessary,
> though pepper spray is sometimes used with large unruly crowds.
> Chief Michael Collins of DCPI said police are also being told not to
> obstruct photographers from taking photos.
> The NYPD Patrol Guide, code 116-53, clearly affirms the First
> Amendment of the Constitution as it states:
> Members of the service will not interfere with the video taping or
> photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference
> such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer
> constitutes censorship. Working Press Cards clearly state, the bearer
> “is entitled to cross police and fire lines.” This right will be
> honored and access will not be denied. However, this does not include
> access to interior crime scenes or areas frozen for security reasons.
> “My best advice is if there is a problem situation, don’t get too
> close, especially if there is pushing and shoving,” Chief Collins
> said. “Most people have problems when everyone is too close and then
> there are sometimes media arrests, mostly inadvertent, and sometimes
> cameras break when people get too close,” Collins said. “Let us know
> if something is going on, and we will run out and try to mediate a
> situation so that access is maintained.”
> He further advised media not to argue with officers and to call DCPI
> for assistance. “It doesn’t help if you call and there is screaming
> going on. Cops won’t come to the phone to talk to us, but we will come
> down as quickly as we can,” Collins said. “Sometimes we can get on the
> radio and talk to on-scene commanders and try to mediate a solution so
> that access to an incident is maintained.”
> Some photographers wanted to know what is meant by “respectful
> proximity” when an arrest is occurring. “At what point does it become
> unfair access?” one shooter asked.
> Chief Collins said some hardcore anarchists will get arrested, but
> police will work with “arrest teams in a disciplined fashion.”
> “We will have spotters who will look within a peaceful crowd to see
> who is throwing a brick, bottle, or anything else and then the arrest
> team will go in like a wedge and handcuff the person,” Chief Collins
> said. “If you are not trying to penetrate the police, you should have
> no problem. If an officer stands in the way, you must take his advice
> and move back. Don’t argue with an officer during an arrest. Look for
> a sergeant or anyone in a white shirt for assistance. But do try to
> call us too. Try to use common sense – keep a distance of 10-15 feet,
> but understand, things are happening quickly and maybe you might get
> handcuffed, but if I could get there, I can ‘unarrest’ you.”
> Some of the larger demonstrations may have thousands of people,
> whereas the largest protest in Boston at the DNC may have had about
> 300 people. Police say organizers expect the United for Peace and
> Justice Rally to attract 200,000 people, beginning on August 29. This
> rally and march will begin organizing on Ninth Avenue to Fifth Avenue
> between 15-22nd Streets, will proceed north on Seventh Avenue to 34th
> Street, and then move to the West Side Highway and downtown to
> Chambers Street, near Pier 26. Officials are currently seeking
> overhead views from buildings, but they emphasized that areas around
> Madison Square Garden will be tough because of Secret Service
> counter-sniper teams that will be on rooftops and in buildings. A
> possible overhead location, with building owner cooperation, may be
> found before the protest, police say. Some portions of this
> demonstration may splinter off in
> different directions from the main march, police believe.
> Officials say a stage may be erected on 31st Street to accommodate a
> rally there too.
> Access around RNC
> Anyone seeking to enter the RNC, including the Farley Post Office,
> must have RNC credentials. Areas around the Garden however will be
> open to all members of the media with photo ID press credentials.
> Press will enter the garden via the Farley Post Office and then cross
> the specially-created bridge, built just for media personnel so that
> additional magnetometers are not necessary for security screening.
> Vehicle access will be restricted to those who have the proper
> credentials to enter the immediate site around the Garden. There are
> eight so-called “sally points” which are mobile checkpoints manned by
> police. A steel barrier is raised or lowered to allow a vehicle in,
> and then, once it is inside the checkpoint, the barrier that it
> entered raises and another barrier is raised as the vehicle is checked
> with special cameras and detectors. Limos, delegate buses, and
> vehicles making deliveries will mostly enter and leave the sites.
> About 10,000 police officers will be deployed in and around the RNC
> site for security and checkpoints.
> Browne said all working press will be able to access the immediate
> area around the Garden with photo ID. There will be checkpoints at
> various locations around the Garden where there will be one or more ID
> Terror in the city?
> Members of the media are advised to leave any area that is attacked by
> terrorists because of the possibility of chemical, biological, or
> radiological weapons. Photographers should listen carefully to
> emergency responders in the event of an attack and to “self-evacuate,”
> Collins said. “You shouldn’t necessarily rely on emergency people to
> come to your aid if you can help yourself.” Police expressed
> confidence in their ability to prevent an attack with numerous types
> of detection equipment at their disposal.
> Photography restrictions?
> Police officials emphasized that there are no photography restrictions
> on members of the media in any area under their jurisdiction. Some
> shooters have been prevented from taking photos in the subway, but
> there are no laws on the books that prevent photographers from taking
> photos at this point. In fact, it is legal for civilians to take
> photos on subways.
> (The MTA is attempting to pass a law preventing non-media members from
> taking photos in the subways and stations. It is opposed by the NPPA.)
> Officials say anyone taking photos of sensitive sites on mass transit
- i.e., train tunnels, surveillance equipment, power supplies, etc - could expect to be questioned by police. However, Browne said NYPD
> policy is to facilitate photography.
> There are laws against taking photos at Triborough Bridge and Tunnel
> Authority bridges and tunnels. Those taking photos at checkpoints
> should approach personnel at the site, state their purpose, and show
> identification. In most cases, photos will be permitted so long as
> they are not of the entrances to the tunnels or bridges.
> Those seeking to take more photos of any of the structures can call
> TBTA spokesman Frank Pasquale at 646-252-7417. Pasquale has a history
> of being very cooperative and accommodating for legitimate media.
> Photography at Port Authority bridges and tunnels will attract the
> attention of police at those facilities, so be ready to answer
> questions and produce identification for authorities.
> Those having problems with private security or other agencies in the
> city may call DCPI for assistance as NYPD considers photography in the
> city their jurisdiction. Problems have also been encountered from
> National Guardsmen augmenting security. Most are told not to prevent
> photographers from doing their jobs, but some have interfered in media
> operations – threatening some press with arrest. DCPI can assist with
> any problems in these cases too. NYPPA and NPPA leaders say outreach
> will be done with Department of Defense officials on these matters.
> Officials advise no matter what police or others try to do to prevent
> photography, “Don’t argue with them.” Instead, contact DCPI at
> Schedules for convention
> The following is a schedule for the week of the convention provided by
> the NYPD. It does not include inside RNC events. These are subject to
> change. Locations will be announced.
> Saturday. August 28
> Christian Defense Coalition, midnight, Saturday into Sunday, 31st
> Street and 7th Ave.
> Planned Parenthood, 11 a.m. 31st Street and 7th
> Green Party rally, noon (12 p.m.) 31st St. and 7th
> Mets at home, 1 p.m.
> Latin Music Fest TBA
> Middle East Peace Coalition, 3 p.m. 31st and 7th
> RNC Media Party, 8 p.m.
> Sunday, August 29
> Manhattan Half Marathon, 7 a.m. Central Park
> Code Pink Women for Peace, 8 a.m. 31st and 7th
> United for Peace and Justice, 10 a.m. Lower Manhattan 14th Street,
> 15-22nd Street (see description)
> Mets home game, 1 p.m.
> Christian Defense Coalition, 2 p.m. 31st Street and 7th
> Delegates Broadway shows, 4 p.m.
> Monday August 30
> RNC opening, 10 a.m.
> US Open Tennis, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
> NYC AIDS Housing Network and Hip-Hop Summit action at noon, from Union
> Square Park, up Eighth into demo area which is all of Eighth Avenue
> and as much as needed 31st Street south
> Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights, 1 p.m. 31st and 7th
> Rock the Vote Concert, 7 p.m. Central Park
> Mets, 7 p.m.
> (While the RNC is in session, Seventh and Eighth Avenues will be
> locked down, with vehicle and pedestrian diversions. Heading south on
> Seventh Avenue, diversions will be at 42nd Street. Diversions will
> occur one hour before the convention begins, for a total of 13 hours
> all week. For a maximum of 18-20 hours, areas from 42nd to 23rd will
> be closed to traffic on Seventh and Eighth; at least 1-3 lanes will be
> open at other times.)
> Tuesday, August 31
> US Open Tennis, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
> Yankees home, 1 p.m.
> NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action), 8 p.m. 31st
> and 7th Ave.
> Postal Unions protest, 2 p.m. 31st and 7th
> People for the Americans, 5:30 p.m. Central Park
> Wednesday, September 1
> Anti-gun display, 6 a.m. Union Square Park
> The line, 8 a.m. employment line (There will also be a group who will
> be creating an unemployment line from the Garden up Broadway, with
> each demonstrator holding a pink slip. No permit was needed for this.)
> US Open Tennis, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
> Mets, 7 p.m.
> Yankees, 7 p.m.
> Central Labor Council, 4 p.m. 31st and 7th
> National Organization of Women, 7 p.m. Central Park
> NYC Host Committee concert, 7 p.m. Central Park
> RNC starts at 8 p.m.
> Thursday, September 2
> US Open, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
> A major demonstration(s) is expected, though none are scheduled with
> permits issued
> Mets, 1 p.m.
> Yankees, 7 p.m.
> RNC in session 8 p.m.
> Friday, September 3
> US Open, 11 a.m.
> Delegates, candidates leave city
> Most news organizations will have T-1 lines inside the Garden and
> those with RNC credentials will be able to gain access to the Farley
> Post Office. There are numerous Starbucks, Kinkos, and T-Mobile stores
> that offer T-Mobile WiFi access throughout the city. Also, Verizon
> WiFi currently works throughout the city and sites are available on
> the Verizon Web site on the Internet.
> (Compiled and written by Todd Maisel. Maisel is a member of the
> photography staff of the New York Daily News. He was chair of this
> meeting, serves as secretary of the New York Press Photographers
> Association, and is a member of National Press Photographers
2004-08-25 11:59:57 UTC
Mar 12 2008