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VIDEO: Fur Vendors Throw Bleach on Protesters and Splash Child, Police Say

By Irene Plagianos | December 29, 2014 8:06am
Protesters' Video of Fur Vendors Bleach Attack
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NY Farm Animal Save/ Miriam Chisholm

SOHO — Three SoHo fur vendors were arrested for tossing bleach and ammonia at protesting animal rights activists last week, hitting several passersby, including an infant, police said.

The men climbed to the roof of six-story 520 Broadway near Spring Street and threw a mixture of bleach and ammonia to the street below, where a group of about 15 activists were protesting the vendors’ outdoor racks of fur coats, police said.

The bleach, which was thrown on Dec. 20 at about 4:45 p.m., hit the clothing of at least four people, including an infant, and splashed a baby carriage, police said. No injuries were reported.

“It was definitely crazy,” said Robert Banks, 32, an anti-fur activist who’s been organizing weekly protests at the outdoor fur stalls since October.

“All of a sudden gallons of bleach come crashing down — we saw a baby get hit, and it got on a lot of their furs, too.”

Banks said the vendors have been increasingly aggressive with the protesters for the past few months.

“But this was pretty shocking,” he added.

The vendors, David Haber, 53, Luis Justino, 40, and Lawrence Andrews, 35, were each charged with several misdemeanors including reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment.

According to the men's criminal complaints, police saw the bleach and ammonia flung from the rooftop. When they entered 520 Broadway, they found two of the vendors, Justino and Andrews, walking down the stairwell, smelling of bleach and carrying garbage bags.

The men then led police to the roof, where they found 11 bottles of bleach and ammonia. Andrews told police that Haber, reportedly the owner of the fur racks, told him to throw the toxic liquid on the activists below.

A Legal Aid lawyer for Haber did not immediately return a call for comment. Justino's lawyer, Gregory Gomez, said his client "denies any involvement in this incident."

"These are still uncorroborated allegations and our investigation is still ongoing," he said.

Andrews will be assigned an attorney on his next court date.

The men were all released without bail. They're due back in court on Jan. 26.