42 Arrested, 2 Cops Injured
Hundreds of demonstrators marched over the Brooklyn Bridge and a large number ran onto the roadway of the Manhattan-bound lanes at rush hour Tuesday evening, disrupting traffic and flooding the car lanes with police.
The marchers, who were protesting police shootings, took off from Union Square Park in Manhattan at 2 p.m. After reaching police headquarters in lower Manhattan, a large contingent continued onto the bridge.
As helicopters buzzed overhead, cops arrested dozens of demonstrators clogging the north roadbed and walked them in handcuffs in between cars. Police asked for assistance as some “airmail” — debris — was allegedly thrown at them from the walkway.
An NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle that 42 protesters were arrested.
Police told AP that an off-duty police officer driving home on the bridge was assaulted by two protesters when he got out of his vehicle to investigate. He was hospitalized with injuries to his face and arm. Another officer was reportedly injured in Downtown Brooklyn as marchers headed down Tillary Street and along Flatbush Avenue towards Barclays Center.
Police told the Eagle that the officers were “treated and released” from area hospitals.
“Reports this evening that two of our NYPD officers were assaulted by protesters reminds us that here in New York City, violence or threats of violence against the police are unacceptable and will absolutely not be tolerated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement late Tuesday.
“These attacks will be thoroughly investigated, and we will urge the full prosecution of the perpetrators,” he continued. “And any other person who might use the right to peaceful protest as cover to initiate violence, cause mayhem or incite disorder – whether against the police, the people or property of our great city – should consider themselves on notice that New York City will not stand for it. Anyone who decides foolishly to engage in such destructive acts can expect a swift arrest and aggressive prosecution. As I have said before, such activity is beneath the dignity of New York City.”
Confrontations between demonstrators and police officers were, at times, tense. Photos of an off-duty officer on the Manhattan-bound lane of the Brooklyn Bridge, with his hand on a holstered gun, were published on Twitter. A video showing a police officer roughly shoving a woman into a metal tree guard was published by Steven Keegan on Vine. Keegan said the woman suffered multiple broken ribs.
Some protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge walkway yelled insults at an NYPD motorcycle unit lined up along the Brooklyn-bound lane of the roadway. Marchers attempted to egg on black officers, in particular, for being part of a system that they said oppresses blacks.
One black officer was observed engaging in a long, respectful conversation, however, with a protester standing on the walkway overhead. Both were convinced of their point of view, but no insults were hurled.
The demonstration was organized by the groups National Actions to Stop Murder By Police and Stop Mass Incarceration (SMI).
“The relentless murders of innocent human beings by police is intolerable,” SMI said on its website.
Organizers said the New York protest was one of dozens held across the country.