Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Right Now, It's Illegal to be on the Sidewalk."

The generally clueless Occupy Wall Street protesters clashed with the increasing militarized NYC police, outside the the New York Supreme Court building, on Saturday afternoon.

Apparently it now only takes the declaration of a NYC police officer to make it illegal to walk on the sidewalks of NYC.

HuffPo has the blow-by-blow:
At first, police officers stationed along the route largely stood by and watched as protesters marched up Broadway, playing tambourines, drums and harmonicas and chanting slogans like "How do you fix the deficit? Stop the wars, tax the rich!"

As the protest swelled near Foley Square, New York Police Department motorcycles and cars began blocking off intersections. Stranded drivers honked -- angrily, as they impotently inched forward towards the protesters, or in support, cheering and sticking thumbs ups and peace signs out the windows of their vehicles.

The protesters were met on the steps of the courthouse by a line of officers, and more soon arrived, armed with plastic ties and rolled up orange barricades.

Before moving in, a group of officers coordinated.

One, holding a rolled piece of paper, told the group, "We're saying it's blocking a pedestrian walkway."

"Let's go," another officer shouted at his colleagues waiting with zip ties and barricades. "Get up there!"

"Let's stand fast there, huh?" a female officer encouraged, as other officers began saying through megaphones: "Right now, it's illegal to be on the sidewalk, it's a hazard."

Protesters began questioning the NYPD's actions, citing their right to peacefully assemble. They paced the sidewalk in an effort to defend against the argument that the crowd was an obstruction. Several got in the faces of officers forming a human barricade on the courthouse steps.

"You're supposed to be our nation's finest," they shouted. "You're the ones blocking the sidewalk!"

Physical altercations began, with several officers roughly shoving protesters and protesters refusing to move, shouting in the faces of officers narrowing the sidewalk space behind the orange net barriers.

"We don't want nobody to get hurt!" an officer shouted on the megaphone.

Officers provided several different reasons for the courthouse crackdown.

"It's our jobs, it's taxpayer money," a plainclothes man standing with the officers on the steps shouted at protesters. "It's the rules."

An Officer Vance described the space as a "frozen zone" and said the officers' actions were "securing the area."

"You can see I'm having a bad day here," Vance said, asking HuffPost to keep moving.

"They asked me to clear it and I cleared it out," said Officer Birmingham beside him, confirming that the NYPD had "deemed it unsafe."

According to witnesses, one woman was caught between advancing cops and protesters and dragged across the barricade. She was taken up the courthouse steps and cuffed with zip ties against a courthouse column.

Desiree Frias, 18, cried as two cops brought her down the steps toward squad cars.

"I just want to go back to college," she said, gasping. She tried to spell her name between sobs, asking for someone to tell her fiance what had happened as the arresting officers urged her to calm down.

Activist and former New Jersey city councilman Jim Keady, 40, tried to advise Frias of her rights before officers took her.

"It's going to be okay," he said. "You might not make it back to class on Monday, but this is going to be one of the most important lessons you'll ever learn, in exercising your rights."
HuffPo update:
Desiree Frias is being charged with assaulting an officer, a felony, and obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, according to the clerk's office at One Police Plaza.

According to witnesses, Frias was caught between officers trying to clear the area in Foley Square and protesters trying to hold their ground.

It remains unclear what type of assault was allegedly committed by Frias, who was wearing a purple knitted cap and long blue skirt at the time of her arrest.

1 comment:

  1. '"We don't want nobody to get hurt!" an officer shouted on the megaphone.'

    Then why did the police show up and cause the trouble to begin with by blockading the people? Why not just have some uniformed officers wandering about making sure people are actually safe in their persons and property? Oh, I forgot, this is the USSA. There needs to be a platoon of paramilitary cops at every arbitrary gathering.