While covering Occupy Wall Street’s “Day of Action” Thursday morning, Daily Caller reporter Michelle Fields and videographer Direna Cousins were struck by NYPD officers as police tried to clear Wall Street of protesters.
“The police officers were beating the protesters with batons, and were also beating the media,” Fields told TheDC. “They hit Direna and me with batons. They hit other members of the press in order to get them to move out of the street.”
Both were struck, but neither sustained injuries that required hospitalization.
Clear indications that Fields and Cousins were members of the press didn’t stop the NYPD beating.
“Direna had a camera in her hand and I had a microphone, and we were being hit,” she said. “When I fell to the ground I said at one point, ‘I’m just covering this! I’m covering this!’ And the officer just said, ‘Come on, get up, get up,’ before pulling me up by my jacket.'”
In the crush of the crowd, Fields and Cousins were unable to get out of the street and comply with the NYPD’s orders.
“The protesters came up to me right away and asked if I needed any medical assistance. They were actually very kind and helpful. It was the police officers who were very aggressive,” Fields added.
The throng of protesters massing around entrances to the New York Stock Exchange was just the first indication of a full day of “nonviolent direct action” the Occupy Wall Street movement has planned for November 17.
At 3:00 p.m. protesters plan to “occupy” the New York City subway system. Those plans may be thwarted now that police have corralled many of them into Zuccotti park, the site of the encampment that police rousted earlier in the week.
“You do not have a parade permit! You are blocking the street!” one police officer shouted through a bullhorn.
“The police officers pushed the protesters back into the park,” Fields said at 11:00 a.m. from a short distance away. “They basically barricaded everyone so that they couldn’t move — except toward the park — and they got everyone back in after a couple of hours.”
“They kicked the protestors out a couple of days ago,” she observed, “and now they’re forcing them back into the park. The protesters are actually stuck in the park right now, they’re sort of barricaded in.”
Update: This story was edited to reflect additional interviews with Michelle Fields.