First Amendment

NYPD Arrests Three, Including Journalist, Pepper Sprays Crowd, Including Blind Woman, For Protesting Trump

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The New York City Police Department arrested three people and pepper-sprayed a crowd trying to cross the street in a crosswalk, with the walk signal, at a rally against Donald Trump today.

The rally, titled #CrushTrump, and which drew approximately 1,000 people, began in Columbus Circle with a speakout against Donald Trump’s racist and fascist campaign promises.

The NYPD presence was also massive, with hundreds of officers on foot and dozens of vehicles, almost exclusively staffed by the NYPD’s protest-specific Strategic Response Group (SRG).

The crowd then marched through Central Park to Sixth Avenue, where it attempted to cross 59th Street southbound, in the crosswalk, with the pedestrian walk signal. The NYPD refused to let the protesters cross, instead shoving metal barricades into them.

crushtrumpcollageProtesters began shoving back, saying they had a right to cross, and then the NYPD pepper sprayed the crowd, as can be seen in the video below.

“I was on the other side of the barricades, already crossing, when I got caught in the cross fire,” said Kim Ortiz, an organizer with NYC Shut It Down who got hit by the pepper spray. “We were crossing with the light, then they tried to block us and created all this chaos. I inhaled the pepper spray and fell back. My legs are still bloody.”

Another one of the protesters hit with the pepper spray was well-known Black Lives Matter activist Terrea Mitchell, who is legally blind.

The march continued on the sidewalk to 5th Avenue, where the NYPD barricades ended, and then successfully crossed the street, passing the Apple Store southbound.

On 57th Street, the march briefly took the street for one block, before the NYPD, led by Deputy Inspector Andrew Lombardo, chased down one person who appeared to be a photographer, and arrested him.

Around the corner, some protesters took the streets again. Michael Nigro, a documentary filmmaker and freelance reporter with the Huffington Post, was ahead of the group, photographing, when Andrew Lombardo once against stormed to the front of the crowd and arrested him.

The rest of the march then turned the corner toward Trump Tower. But at the corner of 56th Street and 5th Avenue, the NYPD would neither let the crowd turn onto the sidewalk in front of Trump Tower or cross the street to proceed straight.

Instead, with the group virtually caged in with police barricades on the sidewalk, they blared a warning that anyone obstructing pedestrian traffic would be arrested, through their Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) or “Sound Cannon,” the use of which the NYPD was sued for earlier this month.

Eventually, the march doubled back and returned to Columbus Circle without further arrests.

A speaker who closed the demonstration told the crowd, “This was a warm up. When Donald Trump actually campaigns here, we are going to shut shit down!”

The National Lawyers Guild confirms that the NYPD arrested three people in total. They were taken to 1 Police Plaza and released with Desk Appearance Tickets for Disorderly Conduct for Obstructing Vehicular Traffic. The above videos of two of those arrests clearly show the protesters were not obstructing vehicular traffic at the time of their arrests.

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