Ydanis Rodriguez Says Cops Assaulted Him in OWS Arrest
By Kiratiana Freelon on November 16, 2011 2:22am
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — After spending 17 hours in jail, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said he was assaulted by a cop during the dramatic sweep of Zuccotti Park that temporarily broke up the Occupy Wall Street encampment Tuesday morning.
Rodriguez, bearing cuts on both sides of his face, allegedly ignored the orders of two police officers and tried to walk through metal barricades to get through a blocked off area near the Lower Manhattan encampment.
He was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration and released without bail by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gerald Lebovits Tuesday night.
The Washington Heights councilman, who was received with roaring applause and cheers from family and supporters when he stepped out of the first floor courtroom upon his release, said he was injured during his arrest but would not go into details.
"I was assaulted by a police officer two blocks from the park. It was not a situation I was looking to happen," said Rodriguez, who was flanked by other elected officials and supporters.
Rodriguez said he would provide a more detailed account of what he says happened at a press conference to be held on the steps of City Hall Wednesday.
The councilman added that his injuries were insignificant compared to the routine struggles of many New Yorkers.
"This does not compare to the reality of the working class New Yorkers," said Rodriguez, who vowed to continue supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But police and prosecutors paint a different version of what happened and maintain that the councilman was going out of his way to disobey police orders.
According to court documents, Rodriguez refused to obey the orders of police who had blocked off a path he was trying to take at Maiden Lane and Broadway just before 2 a.m.
Rodriguez said he came down to the park area after hearing about the raid to show his support for the movement.
"I want to get through. I have to get through," he allegedly told a female police officer who had told him the street was blocked off.
"I can, I'm going through," he allegedly insisted before trying to break through interlocking barriers.
Court papers also say he nearly knocked over the female officer who instructed him to turn around.
Then, according to prosecutors, another officer said the roadway was "blocked off for a reason" as he continued to try to get through the blocked off street by walking down the middle of it.
Fellow council member Letitia James and State Senator Adriano Espaillat were by his side after the arrest.
Rodriguez, through his attorney Andrew Stoll, denied all charges.