In the latest confrontation between “Occupy Wall Street” protesters and the New York Police Department, now being dubbed “The Battle of Brooklyn Bridge” where police claim up to 700 protesters were arrested for illegally marching down the traffic lane of the Brooklyn Bridge, protesters and some journalists initially claimed there was no warning and that the incident appeared to be a case of entrapment by the NYPD because they allowed protesters to continue onto the bridge in the traffic lane.
Screenshots showing an initial account of what happened by a journalist and a revised version of the same report, with commentary from Occupy Wall Street.
The claims of the protesters appeared to be bolstered by accounts from a journalist who apparently was also arrested on the bridge. Videos from the protesters also appeared to confirm that there were no warnings as none were heard in those videos and the police certainly appeared to have a large contingent of police on site as if they were prepared to kettle the protesters already. After all, the police can’t claim they couldn’t have forced protesters to stay off the road if they really wanted to prevent them from doing that.
However, the NYPD also released video that appears to contradict videos and claims from the protesters in which police are apparently shown informing the protesters that if they continued down the traffic lanes of the bridge that they would face arrest.
Now, it is probable that the entire group of protesters caught up on the bridge had not heard the police warning. Even in the video it’s difficult to make out a lot of what the officer is saying even at such close range. In fact, again, the initial account by the journalists there appeared to bolster this explanation. But it does appear that the people up front could hear the warning and then chanted “take the bridge” before marching ahead despite the warning. At least as it appears to be the case in the video released by the NYPD.
Still, there are questions about the mass arrest itself that should be asked and addressed beyond whether it was an act of entrapment or not. For example, why were journalists apparently arrested along with protesters? Did all protesters hear the warning and, even if so, did they have opportunity to follow those warnings if they did hear them? Was the pedestrian path blocked to protesters who may not have heard the warning, leaving them no option but to follow the main march? If police did let some protesters leave if they didn’t hear the warnings, how is it that they still arrested over 700, what was the criteria for determining who to arrest and who to let go?
So, what do you think? Was there any police misconduct at the Battle of Brooklyn Bridge? If so, what kind of misconduct do you think there was?