March Against Police Brutality Results in Police Brutality

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Man of the People: New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, second from left, marches with his constituents on Saturday.

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 24, Occupy Wall Street marched in protest against Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who has unleashed systematic police brutality against people exercising their First Amendment rights, and called for his resignation. And in a disturbing parallel, the NYPD proved that when it comes to respecting the rights of women, it’s not that different than the Egyptian military.

Around 2:45 p.m., Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed, a 16-year-old activist from Oakland, briefly blocked a police scooter from passing down an East Village street but thought better of it and stepped away. Despite her change of heart, she was quickly snatched from the sidewalk by officers who dragged her, hysterically crying, from her friends. As the officers carried her away, her shirt popped open, revealing a hot pink bra in an episode that echoed a famous image from the Egyptian Revolution when a veiled woman’s clothes were ripped as she was beaten by military police, revealing a bright blue bra.

Tim Pool captured the arrest on his Timcast livestream. (Go to 2:30)

Because of the similarities, the image allegedly caught fire in Egypt within hours. Burciaga-Hameed’s arrest was consistent with the random yet systematic targeting of women, teenagers and men of color for arrest, a pattern noted by many who were following the four-hour march on Twitter.

The procession began at Liberty Square and made its way to Occupied Union Square, and along the way 14 were confirmed arrested. Journalists were once again deprived of their First Amendment rights, with reports of an undercover officer blocking the camera of a New York Times photographer. NYCLU cameras captured TARU officers illegally filming legal protest activity. (Why is this illegal? Familiarize yourself with the Handschu Agreement.)

As Tim Pool pointed out while livestreaming the day’s actions, the Occupy Movement just observed its six-month anniversary, we’re barely a week into spring and already we’ve seen direct action nearly every day. Here are some more images from today’s march:

Union "Squat" Park: #Occupied, in case you forgot. Photo: Waging Nonviolence


Thin Line Between Freedom and Prison: Cops struggle to contain the procession to the sidewalk, which is the only legal place to march - until they change their minds.


Demonstrators fight to keep Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed from being brutalized by police, who eventually rip her top off as they drag her to jail. Photo: Waging Nonviolence


Rapid Response: Almost as soon as Burciaga-Hameed was assaulted and arrested, people began protesting it. This woman's sign reads: "P.S. They dragged her through the streets for three blocks." Photo: Daniel Maurer, The Local East Village Flickr

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  • Fedupwithpolice

    It is past time for the for an other entity, be it the courts or DOJ to step in and force the NYPD and other PD’s to “protect and serve” rather than be the enforcers of Wall Street “royalty”.

  • Rusty Wilson

    Where are the lawyers and where are the lawsuits by the brutalized? Lawsuits are another way to protest and may be the only way to get justice for some.

    • JenSacks77

      Was wondering the same thing!

      • Jeff

        Watchout for a BIG press release/announcement/lawsuit coming on April 16th from several civil rights law firms in NYC. You heard it hear first (I’m one of the plaintiffs).

  • Weazz

    Keep up the good work!

  • Daniel Pfeiffer

    Go Occupy and don’t ever stop – not until the police state is exposed for the fraud in the name of public service that it is.

  • Playero

    From “alternative press,” with courageous people like these on both sides of the camera, we shall soon be the people’s media! Forward! Forward! Forward!

  • Real Makavali

    People to join forces to STOP POLICE BRUTALITY