The pair of barriers, which looked like heavy concrete obstacles, seemed out of place in the 13th-floor hallway of Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Spotted on Wednesday, the barriers had the aura of something official, white with blue writing in a font favored by the New York Police Department. But upon closer inspection, the messages told a different story.
“OWS,” read the big blue letters on one.
“Protecting the people from the powerful,” read the other.
The appearance of the barriers — made of plastic foam, not stone, according to one officer — roughly coincided with the first anniversary of a minutely planned police raid that cleared Occupy Wall Street protesters from their encampment in Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, 2011.
The barriers at Police Headquarters were placed near the entrance to the office of Joseph J. Esposito, the chief of department. Chief Esposito, the department’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, was seen on video yelling orders and jabbing protesters with his baton during clashes in March.
Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, whose office is on the 13th floor, described the fake barriers as “wry humor” and said they had been placed there in the last few weeks. “Author unknown,” he wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
Two months ago, hundreds of protesters marked the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began on Sept. 17, 2011, by trying to block access to the New York Stock Exchange.
Among the signs and props seen that day were what appeared to be lightweight, faux-concrete barriers that strongly resembled the pair in Police Headquarters, with the same message in the same blue writing.
“That’s our stuff,” said Beka Economopoulos, a member of an artists’ collective that was active at Occupy Wall Street protests. “I don’t know how it got there,” she said, looking at pictures of the barriers at Police Headquarters, “but that is our stuff.”
She said the police confiscated them during the protest around Zuccotti Park and guarded them until the protesters dispersed.
Mr. Browne declined to clarify the origin of those on the 13th floor, a stone’s throw from the area of the building where reporters go to seek official information on police activity, and did not respond to a request for comment on Ms. Economopoulos’s claim.
And by Friday morning, the barriers had disappeared.