CUNY Professor Arrested on Riot Charge After NYC Protest Violence

UPDATE: 6 Sought in Brooklyn Bridge Attack on Police Officers: NYPD

A part-time City University of New York professor faces a slate of charges after police accused him of sparking a violent run-in with officers during Saturday's protest demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Eric Linsker, 29, was allegedly spotted by police carrying a large garbage can on walkway of the bridge above the traffic lanes during the protests against the police killings of unarmed black men. Protesters had been tossing debris at police on the bridge's lower level at the time, police said.

Police Lt. Philip Chan ordered Linkser to put down the trash can and attempted to arrest him, according to court records. A small group of protesters then grabbed and pushed Chan, and Linsker escaped, the records state.

A person wearing a mask struck Chan in the face and broke his nose, according to the records.

When Linsker fled, police say he dropped his backpack. Inside, police allegedly found two recently-purchased hammers, Linsker's CUNY identification card, his passport, a MetroCard, debit card and a pill bottle containing marijuana, the court records state.

Police arrested Linsker at 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

Linsker, of Crown Heights, is an adjunct professor teaching an English composition course at Baruch College in Manhattan, according to a statement released by the college.

"While we believe firmly in the exercise of free speech, we deplore violence of any kind and will support the official investigation of this matter," the college said.

Linsker was charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, first-degree rioting, unlawful possession of marijuana and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

He was released without bail after an arraignment Sunday and is scheduled to return to court on March 23.

Linsker's attorney said Sunday at the arraignment that many of the crimes with which Linsker was charged were committed by other protesters with whom he wasn't necessarily affiliated.

Linsker’s arrest came as more than 25,000 marchers streamed through the streets of Manhattan to protest police killings of black men, including Staten Island’s Eric Garner. Protesters streamed onto the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday night, closing traffic in both directions for nearly an hour.

In another clash, a protester was arrested after allegedly vandalizing a NYPD traffic agent’s car. The protester was charged with disorderly conduct, but no other information was available.

Also Saturday, protesters were heard on amateur video apparently chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.”

Mayor de Blasio condemned the "ugly and unacceptable" violence.

"We will not allow a small contingent of agitators to bring disorder and violence to these protests," he said. "Those who reject peaceful protest and provoke violence can expect immediate arrest and prosecution.

Other demonstrators in the otherwise peaceful protests carried signs reading "Jail Killer Cops" and "Black Lives Matter." They chanted "I can't breathe," the last words of Garner, who died after he was placed in a police chokehold while being arrested on Staten Island.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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