This Is What the Occupy Wall Street Arrest Pattern Looks Like

CS muncy arrest photo.jpg
C.S. Muncy
Cops faced off against protesters this morning in the Financial District.
A number of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested this morning during confrontations with the police on various streets in the Financial District. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne puts the number at 14. One man was run over by a police scooter, and this man was punched by a cop. Some people think that the way police handle OWS' frequent marches is an effort to stir up confrontation.

We've been to enough OWS marches and rallies now to know what the pattern of showdowns between police and protesters looks like. It repeats itself again and again. This morning's events are a good example.

First, protesters announced at the early morning General Assembly in Zuccotti that there would be an optional march on Wall Street, after finding out that Brookfield and the city had backed down from this morning's "cleaning."

After the march was announced, protesters milled about for a bit and a ragtag crew of about 200 or so set off down Broadway. We know of at least one other group that went in a different direction, marching north to City Hall. The southernmost group eventually swelled to a few hundred.

On Beaver Street (and then on Wall Street, Water Street, and Maiden Lane), protesters marched in the middle of the street, some yelling "Take the streets!" At first, there was little sign of cops (in itself curious. Do NYPD allow the protesters to take the streets up to a point, or are they not fast enough to keep them out?); then, a brigade of scooter cops arrived, trying to drive the crowd to the sidewalks. Some continued to stand in the street, and some were arrested. This pattern was repeated multiple times on different streets while the Voice followed the march. We've seen almost this exact situation play out before after the big union rally last week, which also ended in a few arrests. Marching; taking the streets; cops arrive on scooters or on foot; some protesters refuse to go to the sidewalk; (sometimes violent) arrests happen; and the cameras roll.

When things get physical with the NYPD, the OWS media coverage skyrockets:

nate silver OWS.png

(chart via Nate Silver's NYT blog)

The Voice witnessed two positively violent encounters on Beaver Street today, one in which a young woman was lifted kicking and screaming by her hands and legs and carried away forcibly. And this video of a cop punching a guy in the face unprovoked isn't pretty either:

The violent reactions from police are also part of the pattern, a pattern that protesters know by now. OWS doesn't discourage people from getting into situations in which they might be arrested. Spokesman Patrick Bruner told us yesterday that when it comes to the possibility of being taken into police custody, "there are a variety of options that have been brought up in terms of how to resist. People are empowered to make that decision for themselves." This morning in the crowd at Zuccotti before the announcement from the mayor's office, a young man and woman next to us chatted about their "roles" for the morning (when the main event was supposed to be defending the park from eviction); "What's your role?" the guy asked.

"To get arrested," the girl said.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

Go to Runnin' Scared for more Voice news coverage.





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10 comments
JRS
JRS

Notice that the most brutal attacks on the protesters are from white shirted police, i.e. senior officers, not blue shirted cops; and that they seem not to care that "the whole world is watching." Looks like they have immunity from any serious consequences no matter how violent or irrationally they behave. If you saw the video of the pepper spraying of a group of women who were caged in a police barricade, it was very clear that there was no provocation and no reason for the vicious attack. Sgt Bologna has a history of this sort of attack but there he was, back on the street for a second attack. His "punishment": 2 weeks pay ($3,000 out of his $75,000 salary).

Ed
Ed

If there's anything most Conservatives and Liberals agree on, it's to get the money out of politics! 90%+ of the people want that, if this is a Democracy why isn't congress fixing that!

Sk8orcrie
Sk8orcrie

 Thanks for changing the subject. Now back to the real issues- police brutality, lack of code of conduct when dealing with non violent protesters, kettling, using motorcycles as weapons, and inflicting real life injuries and jail time on typically non violent people. No ones denying any guard was spat on, but the sheer number of regular people who have been slammed, choked, pepper sprayed, kneed in the face while on the ground, batoned and kept in cells for hours without food or water since the protests began- is despicable. Yet i can apologize for a guard being spat on, but the NYPD and revisionists like yourself remain defiant and oblivious in the face of overwhelming video evidence that these guys are indiscriminately beating the crap out of people and basking in the overtime pay.

guest
guest

 "OWS doesn't discourage people from getting into situations in which they might be arrested."You're being very polite but very correct in noting that this is "not discouraged", far from it.  It is part of the overall plan that one can see to use the clashes with police to get media to get numbers to raise the profile of the movement.  

It is still very small by actual numbers.  But there has been tremendous media in relation to size because of the deliberate attempt to instigate police.

This has been the plan since the beginning.  And the videos released very selective.  They will show a policeman using a baton, for example, but not the crowd rushing him before that.  

Even the video that you have here, we don't see what immediately precedes the man being hit.  Does it seem logical that a cop would come running up in front of all those cameras and just randomly clock the guy?  

Where are the multiple stories on the the protesters who spit on the Coast Guard officer, and on the police in Boston? Or the guard who was manhandled in DC, and the attempt to storm the museum?

Google the G20 protests or those in Spain or Greece for what comes next, as the same folks are the organizers, such as Vlad Teichberg.  Even down to the same chants-"whose streets? our streets!". These are not spontaneous protests but deliberate and planned efforts.    

Johanna
Johanna

you make it seem like its a game.  they know that getting arrested makes a statement. it tells the world how high the stakes are.  it sends a message about their commitment.  It isn't a game.  Getting punched in the face is not a strategy.  Nobody wants to get punched in the face.  I've been in these marches and the police are (many) untrained in dealing with peaceful protesters.  They are exerting excessive force, no question.  When this gets to the courts, which it will, there is enough evidence to prove their culpability and lawlessness (the police's lawlessness).  These protesters are peaceful, they are for the most part rather frail 90 to 120 pound politicos, vegans with very little heft.  You don't needa  baton to ask someone to clear the road, all you need is to use your words.http://www.humanerevolution.or...http://www.occupywallst.orgwe are the 99% And so are the police.

unDawnted
unDawnted

oh, and don't forget the use of horses as weapons, which is not only dangerous to the people but the horses as well.

SomeJerkface
SomeJerkface

"Even the video that you have here, we don't see what immediately precedes the man being hit.  Does it seem logical that a cop would come running up in front of all those cameras and just randomly clock the guy?"

Being a NYC resident, it doesn't seem all that unlikely to me.

guest
guest

No, truth. 

Try actually looking, Google is your friend.Are you calling the Coast Guard liars?  They've confirmed the assault- it was a female coast guard member in uniform who they not only spit at, but harassed and threw a bottle at.  Google "spit coast guard".  The guard in DC? Google "guard DC air and space" for the story on how the guard was pinned against the wall by the mob, and the rest stormed the museum. Actually, check out the 4000 leaked OWS emails where they talk about the need to "destabilize" the country.   

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