City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was among the hundreds of people arrested during a sweep of the Occupy Wall Street encampment Tuesday.
"I went down to the park to observe the situation," he explained as he walked out of court Tuesday evening. "Unfortunately, I was assaulted by a police officer."
Rodriguez, who represents upper Manhattan, said he showed up at the park early in the morning to watch the evacuation and to make sure rights were not being violated. But he said he suddenly found his own rights getting violated just two blocks outside the park.
Councilman Jumaane Williams said he witnessed his colleague's arrest, and says he saw the councilman bleeding on his forehead before being led off by police.
Video of his arrest confirms this, but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that to the best of his knowledge, Rodriguez has not claimed to be injured.
Kelly said Rodriguez was arrested while trying to get through police lines to protesters.
Rodriguez himself would not go into details while leaving court. But he called the police tactics unacceptable, questioning how average protesters were treated if a council member was roughed up in the manner he said he was.
"To me, this does not compare to the reality of the working-class New Yorker," said Rodriguez.
Fellow elected officials appeared in court Tuesday to show their support for Rodriguez. "Thorughout my 20 years of public service, no elected official has been held in detention for longer than three hours," said Councilwoman Leticia James. "His rights were violated, and there needs to be a full and complete investigation."
City council members were among about a dozen New York City leaders who held a press conference earlier in the day to decry the overnight sweep.
Williams himself was detained
at the West Indian Day Parade in September. The NYPD said it did so while verifying his identity.
Rodriguez faces misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and obstructing government administration. He's due back in court Jan. 20.
Copyright Associated Press