Throwing punches and mowing them down with motorbikes: The shocking videos which ‘prove brutal police overstepped the mark with Wall Street protesters’

Videos show police ‘attacking protesters, punching them and mowing them down with their motorbikes’
Shocking images suggest authorities have ‘gone too far’
Officers now gear up for weekend of violent clashes across the country
Protesters jubilant after trying to confront NYC Mayor Bloomberg last night
Attempted to deliver a petition while he was at Manhattan restaurant Cipriani

By Mark Duell and Paul Bentley
Last updated at 6:16 PM on 15th October 2011

The police has been accused of shocking brutality after videos emerged showing officers in New York punching Occupy Wall Street protesters and mowing them down on motorbikes.

As demonstrations turned bitterly violent, hundreds of protesters clashed with police as they marched in Manhattan – jumping over barriers, pushing over police scooters and blocking traffic.

Officers in turn seem to have responded in the most draconian manner. In one clip a policeman appears intentionally to run over a protester, trapping his leg under his motorbike’s back wheel.

Heavy handed? Police have been accused of brutality after footage has emerged showing officers mowing down protesters on their motorbikes

Force: New York City Police Department Inspector Cardona hits protester Felix Rivera (wearing a green shirt), as protesters clash with police

As the demonstrator screams out in pain, other policemen prevent his friends coming to his aid, holding back the furious mob.

Another clip shows officers employing a similar tactic, seemingly mowing down protesters on purpose. After being antagonised by a female demonstrator who refused to move from in front of their vehicles, footage shows a row of bikes suddenly jolt forward, knocking a man to the ground.

Fourteen protesters were arrested in New York on Friday and the violence is expected to continue, with officers gearing themselves up for a weekend of nasty stand-offs.

The protests took a violent turn after park owners – backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – put off a scheduled clean-up of the area – prompting demonstrators to march down Broadway in celebration.

The dramatic move came just hours after demonstrators chanting ‘Hell no! We won’t go!’ stormed a Wall Street restaurant last night to confront Mayor Bloomberg over the planned eviction.

Trapped: Footage appears to show a police officer trap a protester’s foot under his wheel

Battle mode: The officer parks on the protester’s leg and gets off his bike

Protesters surrounded Cipriani restaurant in Manhattan as the Mayor was at dinner in an attempt to hand him a petition with 310,000 signatures supporting their right to remain in Zuccotti Park.

Their anger was triggered by the Mayor’s endorsement of a clean-up of the ‘unsanitary’ Occupy Wall Street encampment – which was postponed by Brookfield Office Properties at the last minute.

Mayor Bloomberg said it was Brookfield which had decided to postpone the clean-up, under pressure from city politicians.

‘My understanding is that Brookfield got lots of calls from many elected officials, threatening them and saying: “If you don’t stop this, we’ll make your life more difficult”,’ Mayor Bloomberg said.

‘If those elected officials would spend half as much time trying to promote [the[ city and get jobs to come here, we’d go a long way to answering the concerns of the protests.’

New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway made the announcement and protesters, who viewed the clean-up as an ‘eviction notice’, streamed into the plaza this morning.

‘Late last night we received notice from Brookfield Properties that they’re postponing their scheduled cleaning of Zuccotti Park,’ a tweet by Mayor Bloomberg’s office read yesterday.

There was a strong police presence and a showdown with protesters had been feared. Hours earlier, the Mayor had refused to leave his New York restaurant, instead making his exit out of a back door.

‘I’ll believe it when we’re able to stay here,’ protester Peter Hogness said. ‘One thing we have learned from this is that we need to rely on ourselves and not on promises from elected officials.’

Another protester, Nick Gulotta, was jubilant. He had been holding up a sign saying: ‘Bloomberg Don’t Evict Occupy Wall Street.’

Antagonism: A woman taunts the officers, not letting them pass on their bikes

Sent flying: The man in the red top is hit by a bike and hurled over to the street floor

Fight: A man affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protests tackles a police officer during a march towards Wall Street on Friday after the demonstrators were told they can stay at Zuccotti Park

Confrontation: A New York City police officer shoves a demonstrator affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protests as they march through the streets in the Wall Street area on Friday

Happy: Demonstrators with the Occupy Wall Street protests confront New York City police officers

People cheered as he scratched out the ‘don’t’ and replaced it with ‘didn’t.’

‘It shows when people work together, you really can make a difference and make justice happen,’ Mr Gulotta said.

Boisterous cheers floated up as the announcement of the postponement circulated, and protesters began polling each other on whether to make an immediate march to Wall Street nearby.

‘Late last night, we received notice from the owners of Zuccotti Park – Brookfield Properties – that they are postponing their scheduled cleaning of the park,’ Deputy Mayor Holloway said.

‘For the time being (they are) withdrawing their request from earlier in the week for police assistance during their cleaning operation.’

New York police said they would make arrests if Brookfield requested it and laws were broken.

Deputy Mayor Holloway said Brookfield believes it can work out an arrangement with the protesters that ‘will ensure the park remains clean, safe, available for public use,’ it said.

Brookfield had planned to power-wash the plaza section by section over 12 hours and allow the protesters back – but without much of the equipment they needed to sleep and camp there.

Action shot: Occupy Wall Street protesters are arrested during a march in lower Manhattan, New York

Injured: Members of Occupy Wall clash with police during a celebration march on Friday morning in New York

Joy: Columbia University students Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, left, and Quitze Valenzuela-Stookey react with other Occupy Wall Street demonstrators as the announcement that they would not have to leave the park was made

Taking control: New York police officers arrest people participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest

The publicly-traded real estate firm called the conditions at the park unsanitary and unsafe.

The company’s rules, which haven’t been enforced, have been no tarps, no sleeping bags and no storing personal property on the ground.

The park is privately owned but is required to be open to the public 24 hours a day. In a last-ditch bid to stay, protesters had mopped and picked up garbage.

Many protesters said the only way they would leave is by force. Nicole Carty, a 23-year-old from Atlanta, had hoped the group’s cleaning effort would stave off any confrontation.

‘We tell them: “Hey the park is clean, there’s no need for you to be here”,’ she said. ‘If they insist on coming in, we will continue to occupy the space.’

Orders: Police officers try to clear people participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest on Friday

On the ground: New York City police officers arrest an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator on Friday

Celebration: People participating in the Occupy Wall Street protest march down the middle of Broadway

Horseback: Mounted police officers prepare to defend Wall Street as hundreds of protesters march

A spokesman for Bloomberg, whose girlfriend is a member of Brookfield’s board of directors, had said on Thursday that Brookfield had requested the city’s assistance in maintaining the park.

‘We will continue to defend and guarantee their free speech rights, but those rights do not include the ability to infringe on the rights of others,’ Marc La Vorgna said.

Several protests are planned this weekend across the U.S. and Canada, and European activists are also organising their own demonstrations – leading to fears this may only be the beginning of the violence.


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