Author and activist Naomi Wolf has been added to the list now hundreds of names long of protesters arrested during the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
Wolf, a popular writer perhaps most known for her book The Beauty Myth and frequent articles in the Huffington Post, was arrested Tuesday night in Manhattan along with a handful of other Occupy Wall Street protesters.
A group of around 50 participants in the movement, including Wolf, had been in attendance outside of a gala that was honoring New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at New York’s Skylight Studios. While Gov. Cuomo was being lauded as “Game Changer of the Year” at the awards ceremony, Occupy Wall Street protesters were expressing their detest over the politician’s opposition to extending a tax on millionaires and his support of hydraulic fracking.
Wolf says that her participation in the protests outside the event was “peaceful, respectful, law-abiding and orderly,” and insists that the NYPD officials that apprehended her were wrong in doing so.
“I was arrested for not backing down when a police officer told me contrary to what I knew about the law and the permit process that a private entity owned the sidewalk,” Wolf writes on her website following her arrest. “He was mistaken and I was correct,” she adds.
In a separate article written today for the UK’s Guardian, Wolf writes that “Police keep inventing this right to barricade people in and tell people where to protest, but in the United States this is wrong: it’s against the first amendment rights of freedom of assembly.”
Wolf says that police told her that a permit had been obtained to keep protesters off of the sidewalk and described that law enforcement presence as a “giant phalanx.” Upon grilling the cops, however, Wolf says she found out that the permit pertaining to the event did not prohibit protesters from occupying the sidewalk — there she stayed, even after upwards of 40 cops ordered them to evacuate.
“By this time I was surrounded by them. One of them asked me if I was going to get out of his way. I didn’t think consciously that I couldn’t step away, but I froze. My conscience froze me,” she tells The Guardian.
For “refusing a lawful order,” Wolf was detained in a New York City holding cell for around half an hour, the walls of which she says were caked with feces and blood.
Of the incident, Wolf writes “the only thing that separates civil societies from barbaric states is the rule of law – that finds the prisoner, and holds the arresting officers and courts accountable.