10 Arrests in 87 Minutes: How the NYPD Actively Suppressed the Occupy Movement

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10 Arrests in 87 Minutes: How the NYPD Actively Suppressed the Occupy Movement is a short film by two video activists, Paul Sullivan and Justin Sullivan, documenting 10 arrests during Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary celebration. The protest that occurred on September 17th, 2012,  “Occupy Wall Street”, had over 180 arrests in downtown Manhattan and 10 of those arrests that took place over the span of 87 minutes were witnessed by the 2 brothers. The short provides a look at protestors individual arrests and displays NYPD’s action during crowd-control situation. For years, the NYPD have been criticized for their calculated actions and means of controlling such events and it has brought into question whether or not they are intentionally attempting deny civilians of their freedoms and/or taking advantage of their positions in law enforcement.

Paul Sullivan walks around downtown Manhattan with a camera strapped to him allowing the audience to experience the protest as another civilian walking the streets, however as he does so, he directs the audience to look in a certain direction or take notice of what is happening in the corner. Sullivan states what is happening and points out if there is a peculiarity in the action, informs the audience of any appropriate laws or current upholding legal barriers that are crossed, and even hints at his own beliefs in doing so.

The short film was distributed on vimeo, The Sparrow Project, and later got attention of news outlets such as The Huffington Post when it was posted online, however the rights were never purchased. The Sparrow Project is source many news articles had picked the short from- The Sparrow Project is a “creative direction” agency that helps grassroots projects promoting social change to distribute and publicize their press releases and pieces of work.

I chose this short film not because it looked appealing or had a catchy title because to be honest, it didn’t. The title was long and the image depicted a horrible news story regarding Middle East riots from a BuzzFeed article- not something that stuck out, but reminded me of every other unfortunate happening in todays world. However, the topic today in the US strikes a nerve in many people and the activist narrating the actions makes the audience think, question, and then question again why the NYPD did what they did and whether or not they believed they were the good guys. The narrating activist explains in detail what’s happening and as he speaks aloud, the audience is captivated by the actions that follow it. In my opinion, this film would leave a poor taste regarding the NYPD in peoples mouths, but I also believe that there are people who stand by law enforcement and won’t budge simply because they were taught that law enforcement is meant to protect- they are not the bad guys. Other than that group of people, it shows a harsh image on what happens during protests and makes them question those who are “protecting” them.


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