Banks Call Police on Customers Trying to Close Their Accounts

Occupy Wall Street Run on Citibank Ends in Arrests [VIDEO]


Around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Occupy Wall Street Livestream captured about 20 people being arrested outside a Citibank at La Guardia Place in New York. A protester announced via human mic that people had gone inside Citibank to close their accounts. They were asked to leave and complied, he said, but the bank’s security guards locked them in until the N.Y.P.D. arrived.

“Some wanted to close their accounts with Citibank,” he read from a cell phone. “When asked to leave, they began to exit but were locked in by security. When cops arrived, Citibank security came outside and dragged two individuals back inside to hold them under arrest.”

The protesters were loaded into the back of a police van as the crowd shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!” as 10,000-some people watched the scene on Livestream. “Liberate the unlawfully arrested!” one man shouted.

Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit, who was on a list of tycoons the protesters identified for a home visit last week, recently said he’d be happy to talk to protesters if they’d like to come by the office. Their sentiments are “completely understandable,” he said at a recent breakfast hosted by Fortune.

Video was taken by a witness, Logan Price:

By now accustomed to such interruptions, the protesters continued their march after the arrests with the customary chants. “The people, united, will never be defeated,” and so on. “OBVIOUSLY THEY NEED TO GO BACK AND RESCUE THE PEOPLE IN THE TRUCK!!!” one viewer said in the Livestream chatroom. says 22 arrested, as of 3:43 p.m. Other protesters marched from Zuccotti Park, the protest’s headquarters in the Financial District, to the Citibank at 555 La Guardia Place in solidarity with the arrestees, the website said.

Update, 5:04 p.m. Another video, uploaded to the #OccupyWallStreet TwitVid account, more clearly shows a woman being arrested after telling the police that she was a Citibank customer.   [Can't embed video.  Click on the link to view.]


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Noa's picture

None of this cut and paste business is visible in edit mode, so I can't delete it.

Somewhere in all that hodgepodge, I tried to post this video.  It shows what happened when a Bank of America customer tried to close her account.  Same basic scenario as the first one above, but an entirely different outcome because the police, in this case, behaved like compassionate human beings.

Move Your Money to a non profit member owned credit union:

Noa's picture

That was one of the videos that was supposed be in my orignal post.  Thanks for rescuing it!

Noa's picture /occupy_wall_street_protester%2C_arrested_and_jailed_for_30_hours%2C_tells_her_story_for_the_first_time/?page=entire

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Occupy Wall Street Protester, Arrested and Jailed for 30 Hours, Tells Her Story for the First Time

An AlterNet exclusive: Manhandled, arrested, cuffed, searched, and locked away in the Tombs, this is her uncensored story, in her own words.

Photo Credit: OccupyWallSt/YouTube
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I spent a weekend in jail.

On Saturday, October 15, I went to Washington Square Park to take a closer look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. There were many young people who could be my children or rather grandchildren, but many older people, too, all generations united, it seemed, under the banner: "We are the 99 percent."

Different groups decided to go to a bank. I joined one that went to Citibank at La Guardia Place and Bleecker Street. As we entered, there were a couple of customers and a few banktellers inside. A teach-in ensued. The story the students told, surprisingly calmly and politely, was shocking.

“I am $100,000 in debt. The costs Citibank charges me go up and up. I do not know how I can repay it. I find it deeply irresponsible that Citibank makes the kind of profit they do from our indebtedness.”
Another student said, “I’m not $100,000 in debt, only $30,000. So far. And I still have two years to go. This kind of profit-taking cannot go on. We are here to say we will not tolerate it. We need fundamental change.”
And so it went. After we were told to take our action outside, some people stayed and continued to tell their stories.
I, by far the oldest, had not come to get arrested, but as we tried to leave, several enormous undercover cops in sweatshirts and jeans appeared, blocked the exits and quite literally pushed us back into the bank. One giant in particular seemed to have it in for me, saying, “Oh no, you're not leaving!” his right arm shoving me. Ready to pounce on us, they made leaving the bank impossible. Two of the student participants had come to close their bank accounts; customers in every sense. They, too, were to be arrested. Police officers in white shirts seemed to swarm from everywhere. They rushed into the bank and told us we were being arrested. At no point was there a warning from anyone in authority offering a chance to leave without being arrested, As they handcuffed us, we did not anticipate the next 30 hours that was in store for us.

The ride to Central Booking in the paddywagon was an ominous beginning. Either New York’s potholes are beyond repair or the shock absorbers of that car were non-existent. With our wrists handcuffed behind our back, there was no way to hold on to anything as we were thrown off our seats into the air during that ride in hell. After hours of “booking procedures” -- standing in line, being handcuffed, getting uncuffed, backpacks, wallets, phones and any other object, even a single tissue, taken from us, our names shouted as we were inspected and lined up spread-eagled across a wall – we were finally led into three cells, allowed for the first time to sit down. It was early evening by now but we were not allowed an extra piece of clothing for the cold, just a T-shirt or whatever first layer of clothing we wore.

During an inordinately lengthy fingerprinting procedure, with the male officers operating the machines and the female officers locking and unlocking our cells as we were called out one by one, it sometimes seemed the police outnumbered us. But still, it took what seemed like hours.

Barely back in our cells, we were taken out again, handcuffed again, this time with a chain between our cuffs, and led “upstairs.” But there had been some mistake. A female officer told "our" officer that, no, she couldn’t process us. Some paperwork was missing, some order, some stamp. Time to cuff us again and go down the stairs back into our cells. How many more instances of handcuffing, uncuffing, leading us up and down stairs and long hallways, waiting, returning, repeating what seemed nonsensical procedures and reversals then followed I do not know and did not count. But a deep sense of disorganization, competence fighting incompetence, if not chaos, reigned. It seemed as if, in the name of bureaucratic rules and regulations, in the name of "security," we were witnessing a dysfunctional institution and people not used to daylight shining in; people generally accountable to no one but themselves.

Finally, we were driven to the Tombs. We landed in a large collective prison cell; there were 11 of us plus an Indian woman with her own sad story and two run-down black women on crack or some other drug who occupied the only three mattresses in that medieval cell, and whose intermittent yells, shouting, and appalling screams made rest, let alone sleep impossible. We spent many hours on extremely narrow, hard benches, no blankets, with pieces of dry bread and a dry piece of cheese or peanut butter for food. The young women, all in their early 20s, somehow managed to bend themselves into shape to catch an hour of sleep here and there. For my 70-plus-years-old bones and K., a 68-year-old lifelong environmental activist, it was tough going.

The experience was depressing in every way. All of us could see the irrationality, the nearly obscene bureaucratic time, energy and money spent on our (probably illegal) arrest. During that constant cycle of being cuffed and uncuffed at every step and during each transfer, some of us couldn't help feeling that the 9/11 terrorists have indeed won. The culture in this institution seemed a noxious mix of breathtaking incompetence, disorganization and open or just-beneath-the-surface-always-present brutality. Hardly a verbal communication without harsh and loud shouting and orders to stand here, move there, stop doing this or that.

Searching our bags and moving our belongings somewhere else took an inordinate amount of time. Then everyone's IDs had to be returned for the next step in the "arresting process." Which meant a new search by the female officers for everyone's ID; all the bags and wallets had to be painstakingly searched a second or third time. As it turned out, my ID had somehow been overlooked. Or rather, the officer responsible for it couldn't be found. Again, everyone had to be uncuffed, led down the stairs, locked into their cells until the officer who had my ID was found. Low-level chaos is the only word to describe it.

During the long, cold night in the Tombs, at some point we asked a female officer if we could have some blankets. "We have no blankets." Some mattresses since we were 12 or so people? "We have no more mattresses." Some change in exchange for dollar bills so we could call parents and loved ones? (The one public telephone in the cell would only take coins.) "It's against regulations." Some soap? "Maybe we'll come up with some soap." After no, no, no to every reasonable request, we wound up with a small jar of soap. Distressing is hardly the word for a culture of willful neglect and the exercise of what power those officers held over us for those 30 hours.

But there were a few -- mostly black cops -- who, as we were transferred from point A to point B, told us openly, "We support you. If I could, I'd participate in what you're doing." 

The initial charges of criminal trespass were finally reduced by the district attorney to disorderly conduct, with the invaluable help of our lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild. When we were finally released, we were greeted like heroes from people in the Occupy Wall Street movement standing in front of the huge 100 Center Street Building. They offered us hats against the cold, dried apricots, chocolate bars, tampons, water, self-rolled cigarettes. It was really touching.
But even the young women were seriously exhausted, physically and mentally burnt out. Perhaps I and my older compatriot were better prepared, at least psychologically. But by and large these young women were very impressive. After this dismal experience no one even considered leaving the movement. No hues and cries. Society must be changed. They insist on it, and, I hope, will continue to insist -- and, not withstanding the difficulties ahead, fight for it.
Barbara Schneider Reilly is a playwright, teacher and citizen (of New York and Berlin).

I bless them all with Love.   We must peacefully emancipate ourselves from this system of control and tyranny that has entangled all from those within the system to those who have awakened to the system.

Today, I am once again inspired by Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim (

My personal prayer is:  Make me an instrument through which only truth can speak.

During my pilgrimage through Arizona, I was arrested by a plainclothes policeman while mailing letters at the local post office in Benson.  After a short ride in a patrol car I was booked as a vagrant.  When you walk on faith you are technically guilty of vagrancy.  Yes, I've been jailed several time for not having any money, but they always release me once they understand.

There is a great deal of difference between a prison and a jail.  A price is something big that maintains some kind of standards.  A jail is a little affair that doesn't maintain much of any standard.  And this was a Jail!

They put into a huge inner room surrounded by cell blocks in which they locked women, four to a cell for the night. As I walked in I said to myself, "Peace Pilgrim, you have dedicated your life to service--- behold your wonderful new field of service!"

When I walked in one of the girls said, "Gee, your a funny one, you're the only one that came in smiling.  Most of them come in crying or cursing."

I said to them, "Suppose you had a day off at home--- wouldn't you do something worthwhile on that day?"  They said, "Yes, what will we do?"  So I got them to sing songs that lifted the spirit.  I gave them a simple exercise which makes you feel tingly all over.  Then I talked to them about the steps toward inner peace.  I told them they lived in a community and what could be done in an outer community cold also be done in their community.  They were interested and asked many questions.  Oh it was a beautiful day.

At the end of the day they changed matrons.  The girls didn't like the woman who came in.  They said she was a horrible person and said not even to speak to her.  But I know there's good in everybody and of course I spoke to her.  I learned this woman was supporing her children with this job.  She felt she had to work and didn't always feel well and that's why she was a bit cross at times.  There is a reason for everything. 

I asked the matron to visualize only good in the inmates.  And I asked the girls to visualize only good in the beleagured matron.

Later on I said to the matron, "I realize you have a full house here and I can sleep comfortably on this wooden bench."  Instead she had them bring me a cot with clean bedclothes, and I had a warm shower with a clean towel and all the comforts of home. 

In the morning, I bade farewell to my friends and was escorted by a local deputy to the courthouse several blocks away.  I wasn't handcuffed nor was he even holding onto me.  But he had a great big gun at his side, and so I looked at him and said, "If I were to run away would you shoot me?"  "Oh no," he said grinning, "I never shoot anything I can catch!" 

In court that  morning I pleaded not guilty and my case was immediately dismissed.  In my personal effects which were taken overnight was a letter which had great weight in my release.  It read:  "The bearer fo this note has indentified herself as a Peace Pilgrim walking coast to coast to direct the attention to our citizens to her desire for peace in the world.  We do not know her personally as she is just passing through our state, but since it will be a long , hard trip for her we sish her safe passage.  It was on official stationary and signed by the Governor of the State, Howard Pyle. 

When I was bening released a court officer remarked, "You don't seem to be any worse for your day in jail."  I said, "You can imprison my body, but not my spirit."  It's only the body they can put behind prison bars.  I never felt in prison and neither will you ever feel in prison---unless you prison yourself.

They took me to the spot where I had been picked up teh day before.  It was a beautiful experience.

Every experience isheat you make it and it serves a purpose.  It might inspire you, it might educate you, or it might come to give you a chance to be of service in some way. (Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim, pgs 33-34)

Wendy's picture

Anyone know if all credit unions are non-profit and member owned?

When I lived in NY we used to use the Teachers Federal Credit Union. The branch office we used was a small office in a typical Long Island shopping center. When they said it was member owned, I believed it.

The closest credit union to me now in Massachusetts just built a large brick branch office building, every bit as impressive as the massive bank buildings you typically see. If I were a member I'd be appalled that my money was wasted on such a monstrosity and I have to wonder if it's a credit union in name only or what. Anyone know much about how credit unions really work?

Noa's picture

Wendy, I thought all credit unions were member-owned by definition.  This is a statement from which may explain your concern :

Not all community banks or credit unions are risk free. Some of them got involved in the same risky behavior that took down some of the biggest banks. There are a few different ways to search for community banks and credit unions in your area, and most of them use slightly different rating systems. We wanted to give you as many options as possible.

The good folks at HelloWallet have donated this tool to search for sound and local banks and credit unions. Just put your zip code in the box below, select if you’d like to search for banks, credit unions or both, and click Submit to get a list and map of institutions near you.

The search tool to find a community bank or credit union in your area is on this page:

For more information, see my post about Bank Transfer Day:

Wendy's picture

What I don't get is if banks can create money by simply making loans and adding numbers to a balance sheet then can't credit unions do the same thing? If so, wouldn't anyone belonging to a credit union be making money hand over fist? If nothing else you would think the interest rates for keeping your money at the credit union would be wildly larger than at the privately owned bank but they aren't. I know at the Teachers Federal Credit Union we used to periodically vote for trustees. I also know that rates were slightly better than at the banks but not by much. Where does all that made up money go?

Through taxation by the government and local and state sales taxes and property taxes and taxes on any type of business transaction that is not made by a bank or Wall Street or a BIG Corporation goes to paying on the interest of the all the Loans that the Fed has made to the US... so in effect all that **Money** goes back to the FED.  They flood the market with money and then get it all back through taxation. 

The rule in gambling is the House always wins for the House makes the rules of the game and the game is rigged even though they say it is not... it is otherwise the House would only win infrequently.


Noa's picture

As I understand it, both banks and credit unions borrow the money at interest from the FED who prints it into existence through the US Treasury.  The difference between banks and credit unions is explained below.

On the surface, credit unions look a lot like banks. They both hold deposits, make loans, issue checks and ATM cards, and offer investment services. But the real difference between banks and credit unions has less to do with the services they offer and more with how each institution is run.

Banks are for-profit companies. They make money by charging interest on loans, collecting account fees and reinvesting all that money to earn more profit. But as for-profit companies, they also pay state and federal taxes.

Credit unions, on the other hand, are not-for-profit institutions. Technically, credit unions are owned by their account holders, known as members. Any profit earned by a credit union is either invested back into the organization or paid out to members as a dividend [source: Federal Reserve]. As a not-for-profit institution, credit unions pay no state or federal taxes, meaning they can charge lower interest rates than banks for most financial services.

Credit unions were designed to be cooperative financial institutions for people who share a common bond. Members of a credit union may work for the same company or organization, attend the same college, serve in the armed forces, belong to the same church or live in the same community. Credit unions have become more popular in recent years. Nearly 90 million Americans are members of a credit union, and credit unions hold more than $615 billion in savings. Worldwide, there are more than 46,000 credit unions with about 172 million members [source: WOCCU].

But the growth of credit unions has met strong resistance from the banking industry, which sees these not-for-profit agencies as unfair competition. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to the banks, saying that some credit unions had signed on members with no common bonds in an attempt to increase their size and power [source: New York Times].

[P.S.  When I banked with a credit union, I used to receive small dividends. ~Noa]

Wendy's picture

Hi Noa,

I kind of already knew everything you said but if a bank or credit union loans $200,000 for a mortgage, I was under the impression that as long as they have $20,000 in assets they can just write the other $80,000 into existance. This is a huge scam to the rest of us that don't have the ability to counterfeit money like that. Doesn't it seem like the small dividend you got when you belonged to a credit union should have been a lot bigger? Did you get a dividend on the money you had in your savings account that was anywhere near 9x the amount invested? I realize they have to pay saleries and business expenses but considering there's a 900% return on their money, it seems to me that a credit union ought to easily be able to afford to give it's members a 200$% APR return rate on it's savings accounts or offer huge dividends. What am I missing?

Noa's picture

What you say is true if credit unions practice the same kind of fractional reserve lending, ponzi scheme that banks use.  I don't know if this is the case or not.  

You could always move your money to North Dakota's state-owned bank. Money mouth

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