On our last night filming in New York City we were burglarized.
Our two lead actresses and female DP had their computers, camera, and tax paperwork stolen from the apartment they were staying in. The apartment is located in a co-op in Brooklyn that has a locked main entrance and individual locked doors for the apartments. This particular apartment door was left unlocked for a few hours and within this time, someone stole the items mentioned above.
When the three individuals discovered that their belongings had been stolen, they immediately called the police. The dispatcher told them that a police officer would not be sent to the apartment and that they needed to go to the police station to file a report. The three women all headed on foot to the police station. A male crew member called 911 not knowing that the DP had called the police and they dispatched a police officer to the apartment. The police arrived to the apartment 30 minutes later not too pleased that the people who had their items stolen had left to go to the police station. “Who is the fucking idiot who told you to go to the police station? What stupid law enforcement individual told you that?” Not knowing how to respond, the crew member tried to explain what happened to the annoyed officers, but they became progressively more irked and accusatory. Just as the cops looked like they were about to leave, the three ladies showed up. The cops’ demeanor immediately changed, though they never lost their condescending attitude. There was a lot of f bombs, eye rolls, and machismo. The cops reluctantly filed a report and have expressed zero interest when one of the ladies believed she spotted her laptop for sale on Craigslist. The experience left everyone feeling like there is zero recourse when you are robbed in New York City. Plain and simply, the cops were just kind of jerky.
I get it. Over 8 million people live on tiny island where being held up or robbed is a rite of passage. There are simply too many crimes going on in the city to care about someone’s laptop being stolen, right? We left the door unlocked inside the building for a couple of hours. We should have assumed that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in NYC wants to rob us. Nonetheless, the police officers’ attitude was less than empathetic. Actually is was downright dismissive. Whether the police officer thought our (legitimate) claim was a waste of their time or not, having empathy during a time of stress and vulnerability is something you’d hope for when dealing with law enforcers.
This leads me to the #OccupyWallstreet protests and the reports of violent behavior from particular police officers. Reports of officers pepper spraying, dragging, kneeing, and holding down protestors are sweeping social media while many of the major outlets are afraid to come out and discuss. One of the most prominent reports was the seemingly unprovoked pepper spraying of female protesters by Anthony Bologna. Below is a slow motion video of the attack.
There have also been reports of protesters with cameras being singled out, as seen below.
There are always two sides to the story. I try to keep an open mind when reading the news. However, what is interesting about these videos is that the attacks do seem completely uncalled for. Considering only one person has been arrested for assaulting a police officer, I think it’s fair to say that the protesters aren’t the ones provoking violence.
Having had our own recent negative experience with the NYPD, it makes me wonder what kind of America we live in where the people we look to enforce the law constantly break it? I am not generalizing the entire NYPD force. We all know that it only takes a couple of bad seeds to create negative PR for an institution that helps people every day. Police officers who respect the law and human rights should be commended. Police officers who abuse their power should be held accountable. Just as the banks and investment firms who have hurt our economy should be held accountable. Should we stand by as the financial elite get bailed out for their selfish mismanagement while working class Americans continue to lose their jobs and struggle to survive? Should we stand by as hostile police officers attack peaceful protesters that have the right to ask this question?
If you’re living in Austin and are interested in becoming involved with @OccupyAustin, an assembly is planned for October 6th 10AM at Austin City Hall. Find more details on their website and Facebook page.
Hope to see you there!
What do you think of the #OccupyWallStreet protests?