The Corner

Hobbyist Photographer Describes Assault in Zuccotti Park

It always helps to put a face to a name, even if it is a bruised and bloodied one. Here is such a face. It belongs to Bruce Fancher, a hobbyist photographer who lives “a few blocks” from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan. It is this way because he ventured into Zuccotti Park on Sunday with a camera and took a few pictures. For his trouble he was “punched in the face by one of the lovely young idealists.”

Bruce was taking photographs of tents when a man approached him and told to him to “have some respect.” He calmly explained that it was a public park and he had every right to be there. Before he knew it, his camera had been smacked out of his hands, and his face had been punched. Bleeding fairly heavily from his nose, he went and described the assault to one of the many policeman in the square. An ambulance was called, and arrived almost immediately. When she was finished, the EMT told him that it was the “fourteenth assault” to which she had personally been called.

The professionalism of the first responders stopped there, however. “There is a certain expectation of the police,” Bruce told me, but service was not forthcoming: The NYPD officer steadfastly refused to go back into the park, suggesting that to do so would “cause a riot.” As a result, the assailant, described as “light, about 28 years old, muscular, short hair, and well dressed,” got away unpunished. When he described the attack to the reporting cop, the reaction was “indifference. I may as well have told him that it was going to rain tomorrow.” He received little sympathy from the OWS crowd either. Amazingly, “no one saw anything,” and no help was proferred. Perhaps “love for all” doesn’t apply as universally as advertised in the commune.

Yesterday, I went back to the park with Bruce to try and get some answers from those who have set themselves up as the movement’s representatives. We met with a press spokesman who has clearly swallowed a couple of textbooks on postmodernism. The meeting was not fruitful: 

Therein lies the beauty of the situation that the OWS brigade has created. We hear much of the “institutions” that the camp has set up; of the working groups, the security detail, the liaison officers, the medical tents, and so forth. When complaints are made about the growing crime within the tent city, these organisations are quickly lauded as an example of the civic responsibility exhibited by the “occupiers.” And yet, when it comes down to an actual case, victims are told that not only can they not control their own people, but that they are not responsible for their actions. As I noted last week, this is an organisation which, despite lip service to the contrary, regards itself as being inherently outside of the law.

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