Moral Low Ground


Ydanis Rodriguez, New York City Councilman, Beaten Bloody & Arrested During ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Eviction Raid

One of New York City’s most prominent elected officials was beaten bloody and arrested by police during this morning’s eviction raid on the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ encampment in Lower Manhattan.

According to the Huffington Post and the New York Times, Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents the Marble Hill, Inwood and Washington Heights neighborhoods in Manhattan, was with a group of protesters trying to link up with the main encampment in Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square when they heard that the NYPD eviction raid was under way. Officers had sealed off all access points to the park to keep the media and protesters out; the group that Rodriguez was with attempted to push through the police line. The 51-year-old Councilman was struck on the head and arrested. For attempting to do his job, as well as exercise his First Amendment rights, Rodriguez was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Councilman Jumaane Williams confirmed his colleague’s arrest, tweeting:









Also arrested was Paul Newell, the Democratic District Leader for New York’s 64th Assembly District.

Rodriguez is a strong supporter of the ‘Occupy’ movement that has swept the nation and the world in opposition to corporate greed and economic inequality. Just last week he helped organize a march from his district to Lower Manhattan’s financial district “because of the high unemployment that disproportionately affects his community.” During that march, he affirmed that he is a member of the 99% even though he’s a City Councilman.

“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,” he said.

Rodriguez was one of nearly 200 people arrested during this morning’s eviction raid, which was coordinated with some 18 other cities nationwide. Some of the  peaceful, unarmed protesters were beaten and attacked with tear gas by NYPD officers. Journalists were brutalized too, and were barred from covering the violent eviction. Some were told by officers that “You’re not press tonight.” Police ransacked the ‘Occupy’ encampment, destroying (among other things) the beautiful 5,000 book People’s Library. 

The occupiers were dealt a minor blow this afternoon when State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman ruled that the City could block protesters from erecting tents in Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square, but this is unlikely to slow them down much: as I write this, many protesters are beginning to reconvene at the park in an attempt to reoccupy it. There is also a massive day of action planned for this Thursday, November 17, on which demonstrators plan to shut down Wall Street and occupy the city’s subway system.

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