Mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge
10.2.2011 1 Comment
According to the New York Times report:
…the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The police said it was the marchers’ choice that led to the enforcement action.
“Protesters who used the Brooklyn Bridge walkway were not arrested,” Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, said. “Those who took over the Brooklyn-bound roadway, and impeded vehicle traffic, were arrested.”
But many protesters said they believed the police had tricked them, allowing them onto the bridge, and even escorting them partway across, only to trap them in orange netting after hundreds had entered.
“The cops watched and did nothing, indeed, seemed to guide us onto the roadway,” said Jesse A. Myerson, a media coordinator for Occupy Wall Street who marched but was not arrested.
Writing for Fire Dog Lake, Kevin Gosztola provided an alternative to the Times report:
An afternoon march culminated in the arrest of at least 700 protesters on Saturday, who came to participate and show solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. It is estimated about three to six thousand people were out protesting. The march came to the Brooklyn Bridge. Those at the front of the march chanted, “Take the bridge!” and a swell of people began to walk across a walk way on the bridge.
Those up on the walkway on the bridge looked down to see people walking on to the Brooklyn Bridge road. NYPD officers were at the front of the march. This was unexpected. The protesters continued on the bridge and chanted, “Whose bridge? Our bridge!” The euphoria being experienced among the protesters was noticeably liberating. It is at this moment that people likely felt they were capable of defeating any injustice if they just stuck together.
A police line then formed across the road. Hundreds were stopped. The protesters continued to show strength and resolve, but as the officer announced people would be arrested for disorderly conduct, it was clear they were all going to be taken away unless they found an escape route.
It looks like police entrapped the protesters on the bridge. The NYPD could have just kept going on the bridge and then led the protesters to a side road on the other side and asked them to disperse. The participants would have made their way back to Zuccotti Park, where the occupation has been taking place in lower Manhattan near Wall Street. But, the police led hundreds to unknowingly commit one of the most powerful acts of civil disobedience in recent American history.
Did the “Paper of Record” ever report that the NYPD entrapped some of the protest marchers on the Brooklyn Bridge? It certainly did!
It also reported without ironic detachment or critical scrutiny the NYPD defense for Saturday’s mass arrests:
Pace the Times and the NYPD, these videos actually confirm the assertion that the NYPD entrapped some protesters and arrested them! This confirmation depends upon recognizing an obvious fact of the matter: The NYPD possessed at the time of the event the physical means for deterring without violence those marchers who had entered the roadway. In other words, the NYPD possessed the means to direct the march to the walkway. It did not use them. It instead issued insignificant warnings before it corralled the marchers on the bridge and then arrested them.
There is, of course, irony in the NYPD’s gambit. The decision to manipulate the marchers in order to arrest some of them only served to generate “…one of the most powerful acts of civil disobedience in recent American history,” as Gosztola states. The arrests transformed those arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge from protest marchers to political heroes in the political struggle for a just economy! Naturally, the Times failed to notice this fact.