After police at the 30 Precinct at 451 West 151st Street made a poster labeling Occupy activists, Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye, as “professional agitators” because they shot and posted videos documenting NYPD stop-and-frisks, Congressman Nadler issued the following statement:
I am appalled by reports that the NYPD crafted a ‘Wanted’-like poster advising officers to look out for ‘Professional Agitators’ – OWS activists who were apparently legally documenting the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk activities. Such conduct, apparently geared at curbing political dissent, smacks of McCarthyism and has no place in the United States. Law enforcement officials may not brand as enemies or agitators people who simply question their authority or speak out publicly against their actions. Police officers have no business branding people as anything other than criminals or persons of interest in criminal investigations. Putting the activists’ faces on a police poster subjects them to unfair public shame and scrutiny.
And, the NYPD’s response that the poster was intended to advise officers to comport themselves properly because they may be videotaped is not a suitable response. Officers should comport themselves properly at all times.
“We must not tolerate the tactics of police states. And we must not tolerate any limitations on our First Amendment freedoms. I know that our excellent police force is fully capable of enforcing the laws and protecting our citizens without resorting to such methods. Freedom of speech is not a crime, and the NYPD must respect those who are exercising their rights.