Gowanus Lounge

Occupier Seeking Quarter Million in Damages from City

William Osterweil

Brooklyn resident William Osterweil just happened to be taking a stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge last October 1st when suddenly about 700 of his closest friends showed up, also out for some fresh air and exercise.

Want to Buy a Bridge?

If you believe that, maybe you’d also like to buy the bridge Osterweil, 26, was arrested on that very same day, after he and his best buds blocked the roadway, interfered with the flow of traffic, and basically engaged in obnoxious “occupying” behavior for five hours.

According to Osterweil, in his own words, which he posted on shareable.net a few days after the ‘occupation’ and arrest, the experience of occupying the Brooklyn Bridge was “glorious.”

“Those of us running up the Brooklyn Bridge . . . occupied it with 1000 of our closest friends we weren’t manipulated by police: we just decided we’d take a walk on the bridge.”

In November the New York Times reported Osterweil as saying that Zuccoti Park was picked as the movement’s hub because “we marched up Broadway and held a general assembly there, and decided it was nice.”

Wrongful Arrest?

The criminal case against Osterweil was eventually dismissed and sealed, but now he feels that he was the one who was wronged. Last week he filed a lawsuit against the city in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming false arrest, negligence, battery, defamation and malicious prosecution, seeking $250,000 in damages.

In court Osterweil claimed that he “was not part of this group but yet (officers) arrested him for lawfully being on the pedestrian walkway.”

Moving Up from the 99 Percent

This is certainly a great strategy for evening the playing field a bit between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. A quarter million dollars for taking a walk on a bridge? Not bad for a few hours’ work.

Multiply that by Osterweil's 700 buddies, and you can really make a dent in the income inequality that the occupiers so vociferously protest; pulling it right out of the city’s taxpayer's pockets, who can’t even afford to give their kids a decent public school education. But what the heck, it’s all in the name of freedom and justice, right?


Shari has certainly been around the block. As a teacher, writer, former CEO and present day master chef, Shari can cover a human interest story with a flare and style hard to match anywhere. Born and raised in the streets, schools and institutions of Brooklyn, Shari is the epitome of Brooklyn life. Contact Shari at shari(at)gowanuslounge.com.