Dramatic video shows hundreds of NYPD officers in riot gear charging at and arresting a group of protesters in the midst of outdoor diners in the West Village Saturday night.
The protesters had been gathered on the sidewalk and a pedestrian island on Hudson Street near 10th Street. Facing them across the street was a large group of bike cops, according to a video of the incident.
An automated police announcement is being broadcast, warning against restricting pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Suddenly, at around 9 p.m., officers charge across the street, and the sound of screams and hollering is heard.
“What are you doing!?” one person shouts as the officers knock over a restaurant’s stool in pursuit of a protester.
Protesters said they had moved onto Hudson Street after earlier marching to the nearby 6th Precinct to protest police busting up what they said had been a peaceful, art-driven rally in Washington Square Park, complete with a DJ playing music.
“There was a DJ there but there is always music in Washington Square Park. It wasn’t louder than it usually is,” said one protester at the scene.
Bystanders were startled to see the arrests unfold amid a small crowd enjoying outdoor drinks and dinners on a breezy Saturday night.
“Left a gig and walked into police arresting peaceful protesters,” tweeted Marti Gould Cummings, a drag artist and City Council candidate, along with more video of the scene.
“Police are lining up in the village,” Cummings went on in another post.
“Spoke to some protestors (sic) who say they were holding a peaceful protest and cops took their bullhorns and started making arrest!”
“Multiple” people were arrested for disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, a police spokesman said.
“People were just chilling and listening to music. Then a squad of policemen came up and broke it up,” said Jerett, 18. “This here is the new nightlife.”
Earlier this month a massive college party raged in the park without interruption.
Crowds reassembled in the park after the Saturday night clash, but police broke up that gathering, too, just after midnight.
Two cruisers rolled up with about 20 officers trailing behind.
“The time is 12:03. Washington Square Park is now closed,” cops said over the speaker. “Make your way out of the park.”
The crowds left without incident but with a little lip.
“Suck my d–k!” one person yelled.
What's going on at West Village tonight? pic.twitter.com/tFEFTO0iwP
— MaybachMedia.com ✪ (@maybachmedia) September 27, 2020