Hundreds of people marched from Union Square and across the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday as part of a demonstration protesting the deaths of unarmed people at the hands of police, including the recent high-profile case of Walter Scott in South Carolina.
Organized by the activist group National Actions to Stop Murder by Police, the march was one of 28 held across the country. Forty-two people were arrested in Tuesday's march, including one person police say interfered with a police officer making an arrest.
Chopper 4 over Brooklyn Bridge captured hundreds of protesters walking across the bridge, some into traffic. When police tried to disperse them, pushing and shoving ensued, and several protesters were led away in handcuffs.
Meanwhile, the main group continued on into Brooklyn chanting things like, "No justice, no peace, no racist police" and "Fighting for justice." They staged a die-in near Barclays Center chanting "I can't breathe," echoing Eric Garner's last words as he was taken down by an NYPD officer in a chokehold arrest on Staten Island last year.
Police near Barclays ordered the crowd to get off the streets and onto the sidewalks, then tried to corral the crowd with a barricade. When neither worked, the protesters took off running down the street, with officers chasing behind. Tension reached a breaking point, and a protester was shoved to the ground by an officer. The protester, who appeared to be injured, was later taken away in an ambulance. The NYPD said it was investigating the incident.
Two NYPD officers were also hurt during the demonstrations, police said. An off-duty sergeant on the Brooklyn Bridge had gotten out to see why traffic was stopped, and two protesters got into an altercation with him, with one allegedly punching him, according to police.
In a second incident, an officer was struck with a bottle, the NYPD said.
Mayor de Blasio was quick to issue a statement Tuesday night condemning the assault of the two officers, saying, "Violence or threats of violence against the police are unacceptable and will absolutely not be tolerated. These attacks will be thoroughly investigated, and we will urge the full prosecution of the perpetrators.
The statement continued: "And any other person who might use the right to peaceful protest as cover to initiate violence, cause mayhem or incite disorder – whether against the police, the people or property of our great City – should consider themselves on notice that New York City will not stand for it. Anyone who decides foolishly to engage in such destructive acts can expect a swift arrest and aggressive prosecution. As I have said before, such activity is beneath the dignity of New York City.”
Last December, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD officer of criminal wrongdoing in the chokehold death of Garner, sparking days of protests across the city. While mostly peaceful, the demonstrations frequently backed up vehicle and pedestrian traffic on major highways, bridges and public transportation hubs, and netted hundreds of arrests.