Right after you left the southwest corner of Zuccotti, at about 9:30pm, a big storm of protesters came charging down Cedar street, mad about the earlier pepper-spraying and beatings, and were turning south onto Trinity. I followed. The idea seemed to be to approach Wall Street from behind and make a fuss, or perhaps to march to Bowling Green. It wasn’t clear. It was all very impromptu. We were nonviolent and there was not rioting. This was a spontaneous expression by a couple hundred individuals of solidarity for victims of police brutality which had occurred immediately before on Broadway and Wall St.
First, we tried to turn left in to an alley at Exchange Plaza, but that didn’t seem promising, so we continued on Trinity heading south. We finally turned left on Morris, I believe, where a fleet of cops arrived on motorcycles and incited a couple of tense moments: including hitting a protester with a motorcycle, creating a a brief standoff, (followed by scaring the shit out of us with cops on horseback), and in general being very aggressive with us. Some protesters tipped their motorcycles and some of them fell like dominoes. We mostly retreated to the sidewalk, and began sitting down a la Brooklyn Bridge, chanting “this is a peaceful protest!” and “who are you protecting?!” They managed to split the pack in half and made a few arrests. I think medical attention was being sought for the person hit by the cop’s motorcycles.
At this point I find myself towards the front of the pack that made it through Morris Street and we checked out the northbound scene on Broadway. Totally blocked off to us, as predicted, so we hopped over to Broad St and headed south instead. There were almost no cars on the street (as is typical for lower Manhattan at night), so we very naturally began spilling into the streets chanting: “Whose streets? OUR STREETS!” The cops find us eventually and keep trying to corner us so we would just change direction and run down another street or ally. My memory of the exact path taken is fuzzy, but somehow we ended up on Water Street heading west toward the Staten Island Ferry. Hang a right on Whitehall to dodge the cops, then left on Pearl. They thought they had us at Pearl and State, but we cut the corner north onto State through the plaza-level of a Starbucks. At this point I’m sprinting and I’m towards the front of the pack.
On Bridge St between State and Whitehall, I’m running just on the edge of the street when I see a big, burly blue-uniformed (but higher-ranking) cop standing ahead. I turn my trajectory for the sidewalk on my immediate right, both to avoid the police officer and to get back onto the sidewalk which was permissible territory for demonstration (although many were arrested simply for taking part on the sidewalks). Again, nobody is around but us and the cops. Big, burly cop would have none of it. He aims the entire weight of his 275-pound body directly at my gut, leading with his club. I’m knocked forcefully to the concrete sidewalk screaming. And, somewhat dazed, I stand up and utter something like “What the FUCK?” There is a brief moment of pause in which I assume that the cop was finished with me and I could go on. Not so. The cop then yelled back, mocking me, “‘What the fuck is right!” He then grabs me by the upper-arm and shoulder, and hurls me against the wall. Two or three other cops join him, tugging at my body from three different directions (both arms and backpack-strap) and throw me as hard as they can to the ground.
I didn’t resist for one second. I just took it all, but they treated me like a violent resister. Using their boots and knees, they squished me to the pavement, pinning my face to the concrete, holding my legs, and pulling my arms taut behind my back. My face is pointing southwest at this point, and I am unable to move a muscle. I feel a billy club digging into the back of my spine. At that moment I spot a Democracy Now! photographer jump on to the sidewalk and snap a photograph (this must exist somewhere). I am first handcuffed with metal, then they are removed and they use the zip ties instead, pulling tem EXTREMELY TIGHT on my wrists (I still have the impressions in my skin).
I’m arrested and taken to Precinct 7 on the Lower East Side where I am not let out of my handcuffs for two hours. Then I spend four hours in a cell and am released around 4am.
In solidarity, ***