The intentional NYPD destruction of media equipment in the Zuccotti Park raid

Motherboard posted an article on November 18th which highlighted the intentional NYPD destruction of media equipment in the night time raid on Zuccotti Park:

Isaac Wilder, head of the Free Network Foundation

This is where we find Isaac Wilder, head of the Free Network Foundation, late Thursday morning. Wilder, who we first met on Day 3 of the occupation, is an integral part of OWS’ Signal Corps, a working group that had been dedicated to providing free Wi-Fi to demonstrators within Zuccotti. During the raid, all of Wilder’s stuff, including the FNF’s Freedom Tower, a thin, maybe nine-foot-tall pole, loaded on all sides with nondescript routers that had been beaming out wireless access since early on in the occupation, was confiscated not long after he and another 200 or so protestors were hauled away after barricading themselves in the middle of the park. Matt LiPani, a Sanitation representative, tells us that in the raid’s aftermath 151 Sanitation workers carted away the belongings to 650 W. 57th St. in “our collection trucks.”

And so now, at the unmarked underpass entrance, Wilder’s looking for his backpack, and his Freedom Tower. And $5000 in cash. This is all the money he has.

No press is being allowed in to check out what we quickly hear is a large heap of damp, mangled, cat-piss smelling stuff. So Wilder heads in on his own at around 10:30 AM, turning back to us and giving a quick, solemn head-nod before disappearing inside.

After about 30 minutes he sends us a text: “no sign of tower or backpack.” When he finally surfaces after another 30 minutes, descending a staircase into the howling, drabish underpass, the face gives it away.

Wilder hasn’t slept much in the last 36 hours. He looks shelled, haggard. He told us earlier how he and many others affiliated with the Signal Corps were held in a separate “dungeon-like” cell below the main holding tank at 1 Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan beginning early Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening. But beyond that, his report from inside the heap holds true: No backpack. No cash. No tower.

Worse, it was as if someone along the way purposefully destroyed all confiscated electronics, a strategic smashing of at least part of the digital record logged by full-on occupiers. “Dude, all the laptops are in a row,” he tells us, baffled and raking his shock of brown hair. “They’ve all been smashed with bats.” When asked about the mangled property, LiPani admits that, inevitably, certain items could’ve been damaged in the shuffle: “I’m not surprised,” he says, to hear of damaged laptops. He adds that the DSNY is providing clearance forms to those occupiers concerned their property may’ve been mishandled or misplaced.

But Wilder wants footage – visual proof to show to whoever it is he hopes will step up, legally, to defend the FNF. Hell, we want footage. At some risk, admittedly, we hand him an iPhone. He heads back inside.

Resurfacing a few minutes later, he shows us these: 225w" sizes="(max-width: 491px) 100vw, 491px" />

Photo courtesy Isaac Wilder for Motherboard.


  1. Let this be a word to the wise: The Man isn’t stupid and neither should we be. Protect your shit cuz the police know all too well the power of the press. They don’t *want* the whole world to watch. And with good reason. Isaac: sorry bro.

  2. A sense of outrage coupled with tremendous hope and determination – that’s what I feel when I read these words.

    I, for one, will donate my meager amounts of money that would have gone to re-elect Obama to your site and Democracy Now.

    Thank you, Isaac, Democracy Now, and the countless thousands who persevere and will never give up.


    Lauren – A 50’s year old woman with a good job and education who OCCUPIES (oh, and showers),

  3. Gina Elliott says:

    It would appear the NYPD and the Mayor’s office have a lot to hide since they had to go to such great lengths to destroy the evidence of their wrong doing. I hope the general assembly and all of the people involved have records of their equipment and file legal claims for reimbursement for the unlawful destruction of their property. Apparently, the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg are so arrogant and pompous that they don’t even realize how they appear to the rest of Americans watching their actions. They can’t hide what they’re doing. We all know and see and they will be held accountable in the Court of Public Disapproval. Power and support to the OWS movement. You are leading the charge of the changes all honest and decent Americans would like to see take place in our country and around the world.

  4. KARMA = gravity.

    Love = action verb.

  5. This was not the only right and freedom trampled upon. The altar space maintained by Occupy Wellness was also totally destroyed. Please share the story and sign our petition on

    The Sacred Altar at #OWS was trashed on Nov 15th. Demand reparations plz sign today!

    #ows #occupyyoga

  6. I hope you’re encrypting your PCs and emails.

  7. If there’s anything useful on those comptuers I can try to recover it for free. It’s far from impossible, unless the drives were physically damaged really hard.

  8. The one with the mainboard, fan & optical drive showing is a MacBook 13″ unibody, there were at least 8 to 10 screws removed for that plate that protects the internal components to have been removed. The bottom part that is there is an easily removable cover for the battery and hard drive (wouldn’t surprise me if the drive was also smashed or removed)

    it looks curled up, those unibody MacBook cases do not easily bend like that. I’ve seen many after drops (of 3-5 feet onto concrete) or bumps and only minor damage to a corner of it is the normal clue that anything has happened. To have that much of a bend to it someone would have had to intentionally be working at it.

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