GRAMERCY — Police arrested a pair of "Black Lives Matter" protesters Monday night in front of the 13th Precinct stationhouse as demonstrators gathered nearby, their lawyer said.
Arminta Jeffryes and Kim Ortiz, both regular organizers and attendees of police reform protests in the past year, were marching with about 30 other demonstrators as part of a “People's Monday” rally, the weekly continuations of the large protests last fall.
After arresting them at the end of the demonstration on 21st Street, between First and Second avenues, Jeffryes and Ortiz said officers shuffled them to a different precinct, before ultimately giving them summonses for disorderly conduct and obstructing vehicular traffic.
“They were playing musical precincts with us,” Ortiz told DNAinfo after her release. “One officer told us it was because they didn’t want us to be able to rejoin the protest.”
The group had assembled in Union Square and marched to the 13th Precinct stationhouse at 230 E. 21st St. to read aloud about the death of Jeremy McDole, a wheelchair-bound man shot in a confrontation with police in Delaware last month, according to several protesters who spoke to DNAinfo.
Officers blocked off 21st Street at First Avenue and ordered the group out of the street, but otherwise allowed them to demonstrate until they were done, according to the activists. But as the group was wrapping up and marching away, Ortiz said a pair of officers came up and grabbed her. When Jeffryes went to see why her friend was under arrest, they handcuffed her too, she said.
As their fellow demonstrators waited outside and chanted for their release, officers brought the pair out the back door of the precinct and shuttled them downtown to the Fifth Precinct, according to Jeffryes.
Police ultimately released them about an hour later from the Fifth Precinct in Chinatown, according to a lawyer for Ortiz, who criticized police for arresting the pair as protesters were already beginning to disperse.
“Kim denies any and all wrongdoing,” said William Aronin, Ortiz’s lawyer. “I think it’s telling that she was only issued a summons, and it’s frustrating how often peaceful protests that address police overreach are being stopped by police.”
A police spokesman declined to comment on Monday evening, saying he did not yet have enough information on the incident.