Ydanis Rodriguez Arrested: New York City Council Member Hit And Arrested During Police Raid At Zuccotti Park
UPDATE: 4:39 PM - 11/16/2011 -
At a press conference Wednesday, Rodriguez addressed what happened for the first time. He said he tried to identify himself as police officers pushed him back with batons.
"They kept pushing," Rodriguez said. 'The force was so strong when they were pushing me. Then suddenly a police officer jumped from the middle of the street. He threw his body in front of me and started hitting my head on the street. ... I was assaulted by NY police officers."
That's a different account than the complaint filed in court against him by New York police. The complaint alleges Rodriguez walked up to metal barriers on the southeast corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway and declared he was going to go through. When an officer told him he could not proceed, he said he would anyway, and made contact with a female police officer--knocking her of balance.
An attorney for Rodriguez said "The criminal complaint is a fiction."
Jumaane D. Williams, a fellow councilmember, told HuffPost the events Tuesday were "disgusting."
"We as a country and as a society have supported protests, multiple protests, halfway around the world," Williams said, pointing out that some of them were violent while insisting New York remained peaceful. "We never once asked the question, 'Are they on public property when they're protesting?'"
Williams chastised New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the events that transpired.
"He's going to be associated with squashing a democratic voice," Williams said. "Thank god that you can't arrest a spirit and your can't arrest a movement."
Rodriguez was not permitted to speak with legal representatives for 13 hours as police detained him Tuesday. It was reported he was bleeding from his head and on Wednesday he had a visibly bruised left eye.
Rodriguez also said he was left in a van alone for two hours. "Those are troubling, troubling questions, which we in the council, but more importantly, we as New Yorkers deserve to get answers to," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, referring to her attempts to find out from NYPD why Rodriguez was treated in that manner.
Other NYC Councilmembers told HuffPost they received absolutely no warning from the city that the eviction would happen.
Rodriguez said he will be at Foley Square today at 5pm celebrating the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
According to the Occupy Wall Street organization, at 5 pm, tens of thousands of people will gather at Foley Square, just across from City Hall, in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country's infrastructure and economy. A gospel choir and a marching band will also be performing. Protestors plan to march to the bridges
UPDATE: 11/16/11 - "Ydanis Finally Free": According to Jumaane Williams, Rodriguez was released from custody almost 18 hours later, Williams tweeted. "The #NYPD tried to teach a lesson to an outspoken CM & it was #disrespectful," tweeted Williams.
New York Senator Gustavo Rivera also expressed his disdain on the arrest, tweeting, "Just heard that Council member @Ydanis Rodriguez is being released. It shouldn't have taken this long. #OWS."
New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat expressed his "full support" for Rodriguez and the Occupy Wall Street Movement in a press release sent out yesterday, "
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez is an outstanding public servant and a strong, thoughtful leader in Northern Manhattan. I am proud to continue my full support for Council Member Rodriguez because I know he is advocating for the 99% of New Yorkers who have been left behind in this economy.
Furthermore, Council Member Rodriguez and the Occupy Wall Street movement represent ideas that have certainly resonated with everyday New Yorkers, as demonstrated by last week’s successful 11-mile march connecting diverse communities from Washington Heights to Wall Street.
Espaillat sent out a tweet stating, "the fight continues."
According to DNAinfo.com, Rodriguez, bearing cuts on both sides of his face, allegedly ignored the orders of two police officers and tried to walk through metal barricades to get through a blocked off area near the Lower Manhattan encampment. He was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration and released without bail by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gerald Lebovits Tuesday night.
The Washington Heights councilman, who was received with roaring applause and cheers from family and supporters when he stepped out of the first floor courtroom upon his release, said he was injured during his arrest but would not go into details, DNAinfo.com reported.
"I was assaulted by a police officer two blocks from the park. It was not a situation I was looking to happen," said Rodriguez, who was flanked by other elected officials and supporters.
According to Rodriguez's tweet, more information on the arrest will be released today at 12pm on the steps of City Hall.
David Segal, spokesperson for Rodriguez, told The Huffington Post at shortly after 1 p.m. that the council member remains in custody at 1 Police Plaza.
In a release sent to HuffPost, Rodriguez's office said he and other protesters were being held "in clear violation of their right to counsel."
Upon request, NYPD officers routinely allow attorneys to meet with their clients in precincts across the city, the release said. His office insists their First Amendment rights are being silenced by New York police.
Segal told HuffPost Rodriguez went down to the park to show support when he heard there was a raid occurring. Sometime around 2:30 a.m., Rodriguez was arrested. During the scuffle that ensued, Rodriguez was injured and multiple reports said he was bleeding from the head when police took him into custody.
Fellow council member Jumaane D. Williams told HuffPost he got to Zuccotti Park just in time to see his colleague taken off to jail. He called the events over the past 12 hours "disgusting."
They poorly planned what would happen when they cleared people out, Williams said, which is the point where Rodriguez was arrested.
"I saw what looked like a cut and blood, I asked him what happened and and he motioned to the police officer," Williams said. He thought the cut probably occurred when Rodriguez was taken to the ground.
Williams reported that there had been no warning given to the City Council members, and he was upset that is was done under the "cloak of night."
Williams said he believed the protesters should regroup, and find another park, preferably in a commercial area.
"They've done a great job of getting a message that we're tired of this economic injustice," Williams said. "People should like me and the Mayor should be trying to take that energy and trying to harness it into positive solutions."
-- Tyler Kingkade
UPDATE: 11/15/11 - According to Ydanis Rodriguez's Twitter account, he is still "being held without access" to his lawyers along with other Occupy Wall Street protestors.
Rodriguez's colleague, Jumaane Williams, said he would be "speaking out against the arrest" at Foley Square and asked for the support from the community.
Ydanis Rodriguez, New York City Council Member, was hit in the head and arrested during last night's police raid on Zuccotti Park.
According to The New York Times, he was with a group near the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Street that was attempting to link up with protesters at Zuccotti Park. The group tried to push through a line of officers trying to prevent people from reaching the park. Mr. Rodriquez was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The National Lawyers' Guild New York Chapter released a statement on judge's order stating:
Earlier, at approximately 1 AM, the NYPD began massing around Zuccotti Park “aka Liberty Park.” In the following hours reports surfaced that the NYPD entered the park with police in riot gear backed up by numerous police vehicles, including a bulldozer, evicting occupiers. In the process they destroyed property and arrested dozens of occupiers and protestors including NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and District Leader Paul Newell.
Jumaane D. Williams, council member of the 45th district, and colleague of Rodriguez confirmed the arrest this morning via Twitter and that Rodriguez was "bleeding from the head thanks to NYPD."
Moments later, a tweet from Rodriguez's twitter account confirmed the arrest as well:
On November 8th, Rodriguez, a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, helped organized a march from Washington Heights to the financial district "because of the high unemployment that disproportionately affects his community."
During last week's march, Rodriguez said he was marching because even as a member of the City Council, he was part of the 99%.
"This fight is important for Latinos, for the African American community, but more than any group, this is important for the working class and the middle class."
Latest Updates On HuffPost's Live Blog:
Via HuffPost Miami:
When an Occupy Miami member offered evicted protestors vacant apartments in a building he owns in Downtown Miami's Overtown neighborhood, it seemed like the perfect solution: the 'Peace City' space would provide headquarters for the movement and shelter a small faction of the group's most vulnerable members. But it hasn't gone well. Other tenants say the building has become a cesspool of drug use and violence while non-resident Occupy Miami members are trying to distance themselves from the 'radicals' -- all while the two factions are wrestling for control over Occupy Miami's social media sites and future plans.
The feud between the Overtown occupiers and more mainstream members has only gotten worse. The two factions are now battling for control of Occupy Miami's social media sites. The movement's main Twitter account recently announced it had been "hijacked by a small, non-consensus group of radical members." The Occupy Miami Facebook page was also temporarily hacked by someone inside Peace City. Meanwhile, the Overtown occupation is slowly driving away more moderate members.
"This is a black eye on the Occupy movement," says Shannon Reaze, an Overtown community organizer and Occupy Miami supporter who is now helping tenants move out of Paz's building. "The violence and drugs going on here are way outside of what I thought Occupy stood for. This place is destabilized."
...The supposedly hard-core activists here spend their days drinking and getting high. And as Peace City devolves into lawlessness, the most committed occupiers are leaving. Local landowners and politicians want the place shut down, while cops are suspicious. Yet as long as Paz wants the protesters around, nothing short of a demolition order can keep them out.
Via HuffPost DC:
WASHINGTON -- Occupy DC has a new lawsuit involving tents on its hands. But it doesn't involve temporary structures in McPherson Square.
Two protesters arrested during a February action outside Merrill Lynch's offices on 15th Street NW near McPherson Square have filed suit against the Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Times reports. (Read the complaint here.)
The plaintiffs, Samuel Dukore and Kelly Canavan, were part of a "targeted occupation" of Merrill Lynch on Feb. 13 where protesters were raising awareness about Merrill Lynch's reportedly close ties with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Issa, for his part, claims that the reports of these close ties are "wildly inaccurate."
Full story here.
OWS reports via its website:
After the brutal attack on the attempted re-occupation of Liberty Square by NYPD on the 6-month anniversary of #OWS, a number of Occupiers have relocated their base of occupation to Union Square in midtown Manhattan, a point of convergence for several #OWS protests over the past 6 months.
According to reports on the ground, several dozen people slept in the park after the illegal and violent raid on Liberty Square. Over 70 people remain, now on Day 3. Although tents and tables are still banned, Occupiers have brought blankets and sleeping gear. Many are calling it ¨the new Occupation.¨ In addition to holding General Assemblies, Union Square Occupiers are providing vital jail support for those arrested on #M17 as they are released from NYPD custody. So far, the NYPD has made no attempt to remove Occupiers or prevent them from sleeping in the park.
Occupy Long Beach is defending the mother's home. For more information, click here.
Cecily McMillan, an Occupy Wall Street activist once profiled in Rolling Stone, suffered a seizure Saturday night during protest action near Zuccotti Park. Many on-scene reported Ms. McMillan had trouble breathing after she was tackled and handcuffed by law enforcement.
A video uploaded to Youtube late Saturday night purports to show the attack. Two women can be heard commenting, “There’s Cecily,” then there is confusion as the police clearly perform a violent take-down on someone in the crowd.
According to Jeff Sharlet’s November, 2011 article about the Occupy Movement, this may be Ms. McMillan’s second violent encounter with police.
To read the full story, go here.
Cops caught on video about 10 seconds in taking down the woman who had the apparent seizure:
Watch video from inside Zuccotti Park as police moved in late last night:
- Show quoted text -
The paper reports from last night's chaos at Zuccotti Park:
At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.
By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.
Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.
To read the full story, go here.
|@ Greg_Palast : Our photographer ZD Roberts beaten @OWS Zucotti Park by cops. Thrown to ground, hair grabbd, hit with clubs while yelling, I'M PRESS PRESS!|
|@ macfathom : Doubling east on Barclay, and now the ragged front of the march is at City Hall. #OWS|
|@ LuddoftheFuture : girl in the street having a seizure and the cops have her in handcuffs. can this get any worse (live at http://t.co/4pLyy3gP)|
Activists cry out for paramedics. The woman is limp on the ground. "Come on you violent bastards where's the paramedics?"
|@ jeffrae : March is heading north up broadway #ows #occupywallstreet|
|@ macfathom : Dozens of arrests, many cuffed and sitting on broadway waiting for their ride to jail. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : Police are barricading the park. It's cleared. I witnessed countless violent arrests. No way to estimate numbers.|
Cops pulling apart human chains. There are shouts for mic checks. Now, chants start forming. "The NYPD are sweeping through," says Tim on the live stream.
|@ ANIMALNewYork : NYPD just made an announcement that Brookfield has to "clean the park" and Liberty Plaza is officially "closed."|
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : Bagpipers just started marching into the park bringing the party mood with them, NYPD arrested one of them, and things got real heated. #OWS|
|@ JackieHRye : NYPD just "destroyed" the tent in Zuccotti Park, Occupiers call for its re-building. Marching band also going through the park. #OWS|
|@ RDevro : The tent in the middle of the park continues to fill with people planning to stay the night. Lots of energy here.|
Activists ask for more room as the tent is growing, expanding.
"It looks like a floating tent." -- as Tim on his live stream.
|@ OccupyWallStNYC : .@justawall is leading us in a song! "Hit the road, banks! And don't ya come back no more no more no more no more!" #OWS|
Activists have assembled make-shift, cardboard sleeping areas inside Zuccotti Park. The cardboard is joined by a large green tarp.