Occupy Wall Street March Sullied By Violent Altercations With Police [Update: Ray Kelly's Response]

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Rosie Gray
A protester being arrested after a failed march on Wall Street.
At the tail end of last night's Occupy Wall Street march from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park with major unions (and a guest appearance from Michael Moore), the facilitator of the Zuccotti rally announced a march on Wall Street. As it turned out, it was an unauthorized march, as we discovered when we reached the corner of Broadway and Wall to meet a line of police pulled from every precinct in the city blocking the way with orange kettling nets and then metal barriers. The situation stayed at a standstill -- but not for long. According to Occupy Wall Street, 27 or 28 people were arrested last night; we're still waiting on the police estimate. [Update: City Room reports that the NYPD puts the number at 23.]

When the tension broke and protesters finally decided to mix it up with the cops, climbing scaffolding on Broadway and trying to breach the barriers, arrests and pepper-spraying ensued.

nick pinto tweet .png

Here's a video of a high-ranking police officer beating protesters with a nightstick:

After that incident, the situation degenerated quickly into chaos. On Beaver Street, cops on scooters and on foot chased protesters who were at this point running pell mell down the street, yelling "We told you not to mace us." Some of those who stayed in the street instead of the sidewalk were beaten with nightsticks even while lying prone on the ground. An officer on a scooter zoomed into three girls, slamming them into a parked car. Some protesters urged everyone to sit. This man knelt in the middle of the road:

beaver street NYPD.jpg
Rosie Gray

The protesters continued running towards Bowling Green. More people were arrested on Whitehall Street, and again later after the group had returned to Zuccotti Park and then went out for a second time on a much smaller and less thought-out march around 10 p.m. All in all, this reporter observed about 10 arrests.

Last night never became an out-and-out riot, but there were violent moments that marred an otherwise peaceful day of protest with the unions. Protesters didn't follow directions, and cops responded with aggressive force -- and that's what the camera lenses landed on.

Things seemed to have ended on a more positive note. According to photographer C.S. Muncy who stayed at the scene until about 1 a.m., the protesters and cops around Zuccotti Park laughed and joked once everything had calmed down. "I watched this captain and a fellow in a Guy Fawkes mask asking each other if they had a good time," he said.

Update 3:52 p.m.: Harry Siegel just left a City Council Public Safety sub-committee meeting at 250 Broadway across from City Hall, where NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was testifying on the NYPD's post 9/11 counter-terror tactics. While Council members never brought up last night's violence or Occupy Wall Street at all, reporters speaking with Kelly afterward peppered him with questions about last night.

In either a rare split with the mayor or, more likely, a signal that the mayor is rethinking his earlier impatience with the protesters, Kelly said the NYPD had no issue with OWS going on indefinitely. "Our job is to accommodate demonstrations," he said. "People are going to be here for an extended period of time, and we're going to accommodate them." He paused, and went on: "in accordance with the laws and regulations."

Those laws and regulations, he suggested, could benefit the occupiers if the owners of the park try to push them out. "They would need a legal basis to do that," Kelly said. "What I'm saying is the public has a right to access to that to park... Right now they are there, and the owners of the plaza don't have a legal right to eject them."

"There's lots of different groups there, with lots of different agendas. It's not a monolithic demonstration," said the commissioner, who told reporters that 50 percent of those arrested yesterday were not from New York. Police spokesman Paul Browne said that one arrest was for assaulting an officer while most were for disorderly conduct, for blocking traffic.

Defending the police response, Kelly repeatedly pointed to what he called a "core group of self-styled anarchists" who wanted to go from Zuccotti Park down Broadway to Wall St. itself, and he said were determined to physically confront officers who barred the way.

"When you have a confrontation, which is what these individuals wanted, it's not pretty," Kelly said.

Keep up with the Voice's Occupy Wall Street coverage here.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

[hsiegel@villagevoice.com] [@_harrysiegel]

Go to Runnin' Scared for more Voice news coverage.

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19 comments
The 99 Percent Project
The 99 Percent Project

They have no problem with it because they just made $2 million in over time over the last 3 weeks....so now, OWS is a gravy train

Carmen Clements
Carmen Clements

The history of police force in New York has always been to protect those who control economic power, when we change begin?

Guest
Guest

You want to get to Wall St than do it like water en mass flow through the barriers. I doubt they can stop you at that point. Everyone would have to stay huddled very close together but if you did and started walking they would be unable to stop you.

bully cops suck
bully cops suck

What a moronic article.  The right of political protest is protected by the 1st Amendment.  Nobody needs "authorization".  The police are bullies and are only there to protect and serve the elite.  They are committing acts of violence with impunity and you characterize self defense as provocation.  You are either an idiot or a tool of the elite.

Mabus
Mabus

the american people have had enough of the corprate greed and goverment coruptions they have sent or Jobs over seas to gutamalia china mexico ext nothing we buy is made in the us any more look on the back of your t shirt tag they work for way less thatn what minamim wage is in america so they ship the factories over there make the amercan people suffer and go job less lets alos not forget what Alex jones discoverd in 2008 when he snuck into bohiamian grove and exposed the truth on film about rich CEO's and politions if if are un aware they where cought doing a mock human sacrafice to a 30 foot statue of a owl known as a molock in fact the very people that run wall street and own the largets companys in the world are in fact devil worshipers and as the revolution continues i wouldent put it past them to kid nap and kill american people maybee even simaler to a tinamin square the only real truth in media we have is over the internet the cable tv news and local news is all filterd and controled by these rich poitions for there own politcal ajendas so i urge the american people to stand up let your voices be heard take to arms if one must arm yourself fight the powers that be take this country back cope da la tait i also urge the american people to go to alex jones video on behiaman grove and veiw it for yourself the prices of food and other goods keeps going up up up and wages are low and there are few jobs maybee Money shouldent exist at all perhaps being a comi is not as bad as it is made out to be i mean the us goverment is watching all of us spying on us with stalites and phone hacking they sure hated it when wiki leaks came out im suprised they havent exacuted any one for that yet the truth is the amercan rich elite run the show and are cut throught and have no regaurd for the poor or human rights and life just look what the fbi did at ruby ridge and wako killing inocent people a child in fact a baby they are baby killers and no one really knows what goes on a t area 51 its all a big secret us poor are on a need to know basis i geuss and did you know george Bush was a member of the skull and bones society devil worshipers thats what they are and greed greed greed so i say power to the people take the country back let your voices be heard load your guns carry your signs blog post give speaches dont trust the media ohh ya 911 ever notice how the buildings fell demolition style as if it was by design it was a Bush plan why one might ask remember how after we where all proud to be americans the rich elite leaders of this country wanted us to buy into there lies and be proud amercan consumer slaves to the system working low paying jobs and waveing the flag agian if you recall before 911 there where WTO riots in SEattle and the country was in up roar anti flag movements and anti goverment movments where takeing off at the time then bang 911 hapend and all quada was blamed the media urged the people of the US to ban together united we stand they said we where all agian proud american slaves so yes it is my belive the United staes bush adminastation ocastated 911 just putting in my 2 cents power to the people sorry for the poor spelling after all i was educated in this so called great country

gorgegirl99
gorgegirl99

Ignore Mabus!  he is not very bright or he/she is a shill

StantheAmerican
StantheAmerican

The poor can't run anything.  That's why they're poor.

Mabus
Mabus

if the police are beating an abusesing the inocent people of America maybee we should start shooting at the police with are own guns

DonnaThompson
DonnaThompson

..........@I can't believe....My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on

the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month

her check was $5487 just working on the computer for a few hours.

Read about it here CashMany.com ....

DonnaThompson
DonnaThompson

....@7654f3fe01f09b186f1038f07a321777:disqus I can't believe....My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on 

the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month 

her check was $5487 just working on the computer for a few hours. 

Read about it here CashMany.com ....

Aganuls
Aganuls

Protesters have their own idealistic mentality, there mind are poisoned by subversive ideology. They have also the freedom expression but not freedom to harm or destroy others. We can't blame the authority to so because of their  mandate to protect lives and property.   Anyway

Swiss watch trends  is today's for jewelry fashion.

 

Donschneider44
Donschneider44

Demonstration "Sullied" was it ? OK V.Voice who did the sullying ? Good to see you are still as superfluous as always. Go peddle your yuppy papers !

Jamie P
Jamie P

Why should the protestors follow directions? If they followed all the rules, there wouldn't be an occupy wall street movement in the first place. I don't think anyone likes getting beaten up, but they wanted to go in the street and the cops were in their way, so violence was inevitable. And I think it's inaccurate to say that the violence marred it. The only way they could've avoided violence was to greatly shrink the scope of the protest (removing all its power in the process), which is clearly not an option. It sucks getting beaten up, but these people know what they're fighting for and they're willing to risk it to make their voices heard.

latb
latb

Maybe because none of the people they're ostensibly protesting actually live where they're causing chaos? Maybe they should be respectful to those who toil and have homes in the neighborhood? Or is this all some perverse way to gain support amongst non-demonstrators that is beyond my comprehension? (the major banking institutions are all up in midtown in case you didn't know...).

Mddear
Mddear

I am not against civil disobedience when there is a clear and legitimate reason for it, but these people are friggin' idiots who have no clue what they are there for, other than to throw a temper tantrum.I hope they all get their asses kicked!

Skram
Skram

Really? This is how grassroots movements usually begin and if you can't understand what these people are protesting about then you obviously haven't been paying too much attention. FWIW I can't stand patronising, know-it-all college kids any more than the next person but this goes much deeper than that.Then again, maybe you profit from financial downturns by foreclosing on peoples houses and taking advantage of poor, desperate people, in which case your objection to OWS is understandable. If so, enjoy your rapacious ways while you can.

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