New York City police officers have apparently become so fed-up with Occupy Wall Street protesters that they are not only arresting activists, photographers and journalists as they have been doing.
They are now attacking fellow cops.
The latest melee took place Saturday, the three-month anniversary of the movement, as hundreds of activists attempted to scale or crawl under a fence to an Episcopal churched-owned lot where they had intended to create an encampment.
NYPD officers arrested about 50 people who had entered the property, attacking several reporters and at least one plainclothes cop in the process.
Ryan Devereaux of Democracy Now – who winded up with a cop’s fist on his throat – reported seeing a senior police officer throw a younger plainclothes cop to the ground, apparently not recognizing him.
The younger officer said he was hurt, according to Devereaux’s tweet.
I saw a senior officer throw a younger plainclothes cop to the ground, not recognizing him. The younger cop said he was hurt.
I was just manhandled by massive police officer. I was standing on the sidewalk. He was pushing his fist into my throat.
I repeatedly said I was trying to get back and he wouldn’t let me go. Eventually he pulled me away to arrest me. I kept telling I was press.
My neck is red, my press pass was ripped. I was doing nothing but standing on the sidewalk doing my job.
My colleague, a credentialed cameraman, was punched in the kidney three times.
For the second time today my credentialed cameraman was struck by the police. This time with batons.
A photographer named Tim Eastman tweeted that the NYPD cop pictured at the top of this story “attacked my camera/face w nightstick” after snapping the photo.
Independent journalist Zach Roberts was also arrested, managing to snap the following photo from inside the holding cell, which he tweeted.
He spent eight hours in jail and will eventually provide an update on his site.
Another person who was arrested with Roberts, apparently named Caroline Roberts, managed to shoot this video from inside the paddy wagon where retired Bishop George Packard, also arrested, explains the church’s reluctance to accommodate the activists.
Packard spent nine hours in jail, then wrote about his experience on his blog:
The cop who kneed my wife in the chest three times and threw her into other demonstrators was the same Officer who walked me harmlessly to the paddy wagon.
Here’s a question I have for anyone so free with advice on what conduct OWS should employ at a protest–please answer it honestly. “What would you have done if it was your loved one who had gotten beaten after you had behaved so decorously, and non violently, in the course of your arrest?” Spare me your lectures on non-viloence; we’re already well-versed in the discipline.
We must not be so committed to order that we have to step over innocents to keep this point in tact but we will point to its dark and ugly face. And that’s why Occupy Wall Street will be around for a long time.
More incidents reported by the Village Voice:
During the Duarte Square showdown, photographer CS Muncy (on assignment for the Village Voice) had an encounter with a cop that began fairly typically: the officer asked him to move and get out of the lot. According to Muncy, the cop told him that if he didn’t move, he would take away his official NYPD-issued press card. The cop then said “I’ve been told to take cards today,” Muncy says.
Freelance photographer Andrew Kelly had a similar run-in later in the evening during the protesters’ march to Times Square. Kelly told the Voice that a police officer grabbed his press pass in his hands and said “Please let me take this card. I want to take a card so bad today.”
Josh Stearns, who has been documenting the number of journalists arrested at Occupy protests on this site, said 36 journalists have been arrested so far. But he’s not even counting the countless other people who were arrested for shooting video who are not necessarily journalists.
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