MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — Prosecutors dismissed charges Wednesday against Washington Heights Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who was arrested during the NYPD's November clearing of Occupy Wall Street's encampment in Zuccotti Park.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office said it did not have testimony from the female police officer Rodriguez, 46, allegedly clashed with during the infamous overnight raid of the movement's headquarters in Zuccotti Park. Prosecutors did not explain why they did not have the testimony.
Rodriguez had been charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental adminstration.
"We do not have the testimony of the specific female officer with whom the defendant physically interfered, which is the basis for the obstructing governmental administration charge and the basis for the authorized arrest required for the resisting arrest charge," Assistant District Attorney Michele Bayer said Wednesday.
"As we don’t have the testimony of this specific female officer, we cannot prove the charges against this defendant beyond a reasonable doubt."
After the announcement, Rodriguez said he was pleased the charges were dismissed but that he wants the same for other activists who have been taken into custody during demonstrations since the movement began last year.
"I hope that the cases of hundreds of peaceful protesters that have participated in this movement also get dismissed," the councilman said outside the courthouse after his appearance.
Rodriguez added that he believes he was wrongfully arrested and that "the NYPD used excessive force."
Due to to the major clashes between police and protesters and the high volume of arrests during demonstrations, Rodriguez said he wants the police commissioner and mayor to "invest the same amount of energy and resources that has to be invested to keep the city safe to also protect the constitutional right to a public assembly and the right to be in a public square."
After his appearance Wednesday, Rodgriguez said was headed to Union Square, where an Occupy Wall Street event was schedule, and added that he planned to participate in a May 1 "general strike" demonstration.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, 13 percent of the 2,023 OWS-related cases have been dismissed so far.