Judge Lucy Billings has ordered the City of New York to show cause, and issued a temporary restraining order against the City and Brookfield's imposition of new rules in Zuccotti Park.
NLG lawyers petitioned the judge in the early morning hours. Unfortunately we were too late to stop the late night raid for completely demolishing thousands of dollars worth of communal and personal property. Many were arrested and injured; Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had a gash on his forehead and was still in custody as of 8am.
The temporary restraining order will last until 11:30am, at which point the government will argue against its extension before the court. The plaintiff Jen Waller and similarly situated plaintiffs are represented by the Liberty Park Legal Working Group, which includes a number of top flight First Amendment/Civil Rights lawyers. I believe Danny Alterman will be arguing for plaintiffs, but I am not sure. The argument is in part that Brookfield changed its rules without proper notice and comment, that the actions of the NYPD were not based on a proper foundation (they argued health and fire safety) and that this is First Amendment protected activity. We've been preparing for this moment, though no one likes to marshal crucial legal arguments at three in the morning.
OWS is having a general assembly in a few minutes. Other than those arrested, folks are either at Foley Square or have taken shelter in supportive churches. A lot of people are rattled by last night's events, but as a movement we are completely unshaken.
UPDATE: Thanks so much for putting this on the rec list, I wish I had better news to report. Unfortunately, the NYPD disobeyed the court order. Even when their on the ground leadership and their main office was served and presented with the TRO, they refused to comply. We are no longer a nation of laws. The word of a New York Supreme Court Judge means less than those of a patrol officer.
Lengthy hearings are now taking place before Judge Stallman. Judge Lucy Billings, who issued the TRO, no longer has the case. I will keep folks apprised, but I can't promise to get to most of the comments.
Update II: Court hearings have concluded, judge will issue decision by 3pm EST.
Update III: Now that I've had a minute to catch my breath, here was the clear language of the TRO that the NYPD disobeyed this morning by erecting barricades:
"It is further ordered, that until the matter is heard on the date set forth above, respondents/defendants are prohibited from:
a) Evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park, a/k/a Liberty Park exclusive of lawful arrests for criminal offenses
b) Enforcing "rules" published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the with tents and other property previously utilized."
Update IV: Still waiting for Judge Stallman...might be another hour. The stupid CNN Report, which reported the TRO victory early this afternoon, confused many into thinking incorrectly that Judge Stallman had ruled for OWS. A real amateur move from CNN.