On Monday night (January 18), the New York City Police Department arrested dozens of people who were participating in a march to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The march was organized by several Black activists groups, according to a report by the New York Times.
The march started around 5 p.m. outside the Barclays Center with a short program of speakers, the crowd then marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Police blocked off the road from the bridge to City Hall Park.
Additional videos posted to social media captured officers fitted with batons, helmets and zip ties pushing the crowd near City Hall back, pinning several to the ground as they made arrests.
The arrests come just a few days after the state’s Attorney General Leticia James sued the Department for how it handled the protests last summer following George Floyd’s death.
“There was ample ability and opportunity for the city and NYPD leadership to make important changes to the way that officers interact with peaceful protesters, but time and time again, they did not,” James said of last year’s protests.
The suit, if successful, would get a court-appointed manager to monitor officers’ tactics at protests. This manager would join another monitor appointed in 2013 to oversee how the city enforced changes to the stop-and-frisk policy.
An NYPD spokesperson said the arrests were made between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Witnesses say that a small number of marchers were on the street when police announced they were blocking the road and would be arrested.
One witness, Jordan Plaza, told the Times, the response of NYPD “baffle[d]” her given the scenes at the US Capitol on January 6.
“It baffles me because the Capitol building, they were able to get in,” she said. “Here, they were protesting outside a courthouse.”
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