Ydanis Rodriguez, City Council Member, On Being Arrested at Occupy Wall Street

YdanisRodriguez1.jpg
Ydanis Rodriguez, sporting a cut over his eye that he said police gave him at Occupy Wall Street.
Ydanis Rodriguez, the City Council member who was arrested near Zuccotti Park two nights ago, gave a press conference at City Hall this morning, his face still showing cuts and scrapes where he says police forced his face into the pavement.

Rodriguez told reporters he didn't go down to Zuccotti Park Monday night intending to get arrested. When he was tipped off to the 1 a.m. police raid Monday night by one of the occupiers, Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights, drove downtown and started walking to the park.

Two blocks north of the park on Broadway, Rodriguez says he encountered a group of police officers. He began to identify himself as a Council member, but he says he didn't even have time to finish identifying himself before officers began pushing him back with nightsticks.

Then another officer stepped out of the group and started hitting Rodriguez and forcing him to the ground, he said. Rodriguez sustained cuts to both sides of his face (still visible two days later) as well as his right shoulder area, he said.

As all this was going on, Rodriguez said a senior NYPD official with whom he has worked in the past was nearby.

"The NYPD cannot say 'We didn't know who that person was,'" Rodriguez said.

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Rodriguez showed scrapes over both sides of his face.
After his arrest, Rodriguez was held for 12 hours without being allowed to speak to a lawyer, first alone in a bus, then inside One Police Plaza.

"I didn't want to be treated different, I only wanted to be treated with the rights that I know that I have as a citizen," he said.

The arrest of Rodriguez marks the second time in less than four months that the NYPD has tangled with a New York City Council member. In September Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams was handcuffed and detained at the West Indian Day Parade and then released without charges.

The City Council's Rodriguez's arrest is being picked up by other members of the the Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, who say this second incident is further evidence of a New York Police Department out of control.

It's also being taken up by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose likely mayoral run could pit her against Police Chief Ray Kelly. Quinn told the press conference there are a lot of questions surrounding Rodriguez's arrest:

"Why was he arrested when he was not in the park not having left?" Quinn asked. "Why was he charged with resisting arrest? Why was he pushed to the ground and injured?
Why was he held in a van outside 1 police plaza for two hours alone when the other individuals who had been arrested and in the van were taken inside to be processed?"

Rodriguez and other politicians also took the opportunity to condemn Monday's late-night eviction of Occupy Wall Street:

"You have the press being arrested and not allowed to see what's going on," Williams said. "You have elected officials who are outspoken being arrested and being denied the ability to see an attorney or seek medical attention.... and then you have a tremendous show of force under cover of night while people are sleeping to remove a peaceful unarmed protest. That reminds me of the worst kind of fascist state."

Williams and others called on New Yorkers to take part in tomorrow's demonstrations, which will attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange.

"What was going on at Zuccotti Park is about the 99 percent, who the mayor and even the governor aren't speaking to," Williams said. "It's important that this message be the things that they spend their energy and resources on, not resources to send an army in to remove unarmed people who are peacefully protesting."

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

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10 comments
Wintersiroco
Wintersiroco

Ydanis Rodriguez voted for unfair City Hall budget cutsearlier this summer. There was a vigorous, but smaller than OWS encampmentprotest. It was called Bloobergville, http://bloombergvillenow.org/ to protest against forced austerity for the people only, notthe wealthy. We welcome his empathy and words, but it would help us moreif he simply voted always the will of the people who put him in office at theCity Council.  The jail is already crowded with people arrested for not good reason.

Jlpm524
Jlpm524

So now the politicians get the same treatment that the rest of us get or fear to get.

Richard Fallis
Richard Fallis

First they ignore you. Then they mock you. Then they fight you. Then you win.~ Ghandi

castnet55
castnet55

First of all the 1% is not afraid of the movement, They can aford protection on all levels.  My concern is the police brutality on the councileman and not allowing the press in. I don't support the occupation of anything nor do I support any animal that tries to hijack this or use violence to get their point across I think that most feel this is just one big social party to mingle and aggrivate the establishment. Now if you can get organized with the protest, boycott the big buisness and go to washington to get your voice heard to the people that make the laws and are the biggest part of the problem then I might consider listening to you.Until then i equate your movement with bugs on my windshield that will get washed away with the wipers.  I'm an independent voter that votes for my best interest.

RichardK
RichardK

The people who make the laws do not care to heed the voice of the American people. They are only interested in power and money, which the corporate fascist state has an ample supply of, thanks to the bought off government.So why face the difficulty of traveling to Washington when the problems is throughout the entire nation.  Better to occupy everywhere, it is a little more convenient and possible.If you want to go to Washington .....to not have your voice heard....that's your suggestion for yourself to follow, though I'd suggest finding something more local for a start..

castnet55
castnet55

I understand where you're coming from Richard my point is the locals can't do much about a national problem.Whereas a major show of force in key areas can.Picture a million or so people in washington say at the white house and a march to the capital with the peoples mic getting congresss' attention. The million man march years ago seemed pretty effective.Take over the green space for camping and it has a very huge  huge voice for everyone to notice.

Guest
Guest

i agree with Fausto!  somehow we must get rid of Bloomberg (and we must not elect Quinn who is a Bloomberg clone).  i think the 1% is really scared.  they should be.  their time is up!

Fausto Almonte
Fausto Almonte

IT IS REALLY AN ATROCITY  WHAT HAPPENED HERE , AN ATROCITY TO HUMANITY WHO WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN A BETTER LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO IS PART OF THE 99 PERCENT. IN A WAY IM GLAD THIS HAPPENED CAUSE IT PROVES THE POINT AND ITS ONLY GONNA MAKE THIS WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT STRONGER THAN EVER.

TO THE 1% A$$HOLES: YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED THE 99% WILL PREVAIL!!!!!!!!!!!

LOrion
LOrion

RE: OccupyArrests. To date all 4,094 arrests have been unlawful and brutally overrepressive.... and you are permitted (if you can) to resist unalwful arrest .. someone else can help you or you can help them. Here are rulings: Be sure you have your lawyers number on your arm. Keep demanding your rights.  .... GOOD LUCK tomorrow everyone. Keep the CAMERAS rolling!

http://tinyurl.com/7qza5ff  

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