Ydanis Rodriguez Arrested: New York City Council Member Hit And Arrested During Police Raid At Zuccotti Park

NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez Hit And Arrested During 'Occupy' Raid

At a press conference Wednesday, Rodriguez addressed what happened for the first time. He said he tried to identify himself as police officers pushed him back with batons.

"They kept pushing," Rodriguez said. 'The force was so strong when they were pushing me. Then suddenly a police officer jumped from the middle of the street. He threw his body in front of me and started hitting my head on the street. ... I was assaulted by NY police officers."

That's a different account than the complaint filed in court against him by New York police. The complaint alleges Rodriguez walked up to metal barriers on the southeast corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway and declared he was going to go through. When an officer told him he could not proceed, he said he would anyway, and made contact with a female police officer--knocking her of balance.

An attorney for Rodriguez said "The criminal complaint is a fiction."

Jumaane D. Williams, a fellow councilmember, told HuffPost the events Tuesday were "disgusting."

"We as a country and as a society have supported protests, multiple protests, halfway around the world," Williams said, pointing out that some of them were violent while insisting New York remained peaceful. "We never once asked the question, 'Are they on public property when they're protesting?'"

Williams chastised New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the events that transpired.

"He's going to be associated with squashing a democratic voice," Williams said. "Thank god that you can't arrest a spirit and your can't arrest a movement."Rodriguez was not permitted to speak with legal representatives for 13 hours as police detained him Tuesday. It was reported he was bleeding from his head and on Wednesday he had a visibly bruised left eye.

Rodriguez also said he was left in a van alone for two hours. "Those are troubling, troubling questions, which we in the council, but more importantly, we as New Yorkers deserve to get answers to," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, referring to her attempts to find out from NYPD why Rodriguez was treated in that manner.

Other NYC Councilmembers told HuffPost they received absolutely no warning from the city that the eviction would happen.

Rodriguez said he will be at Foley Square today at 5pm celebrating the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the Occupy Wall Street organization, at 5 pm, tens of thousands of people will gather at Foley Square, just across from City Hall, in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country's infrastructure and economy. A gospel choir and a marching band will also be performing. Protestors plan to march to the bridges

UPDATE: 11/16/11 - "Ydanis Finally Free": According to Jumaane Williams, Rodriguez was released from custody almost 18 hours later, Williams tweeted. "The #NYPD tried to teach a lesson to an outspoken CM & it was #disrespectful," tweeted Williams.

New York Senator Gustavo Rivera also expressed his disdain on the arrest, tweeting, "Just heard that Council member @Ydanis Rodriguez is being released. It shouldn't have taken this long. #OWS."

New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat expressed his "full support" for Rodriguez and the Occupy Wall Street Movement in a press release sent out yesterday, "

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez is an outstanding public servant and a strong, thoughtful leader in Northern Manhattan. I am proud to continue my full support for Council Member Rodriguez because I know he is advocating for the 99% of New Yorkers who have been left behind in this economy.

Furthermore, Council Member Rodriguez and the Occupy Wall Street movement represent ideas that have certainly resonated with everyday New Yorkers, as demonstrated by last week’s successful 11-mile march connecting diverse communities from Washington Heights to Wall Street.

Espaillat sent out a tweet stating, "the fight continues."

According to DNAinfo.com, Rodriguez, bearing cuts on both sides of his face, allegedly ignored the orders of two police officers and tried to walk through metal barricades to get through a blocked off area near the Lower Manhattan encampment. He was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration and released without bail by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Gerald Lebovits Tuesday night.

The Washington Heights councilman, who was received with roaring applause and cheers from family and supporters when he stepped out of the first floor courtroom upon his release, said he was injured during his arrest but would not go into details, DNAinfo.com reported.

"I was assaulted by a police officer two blocks from the park. It was not a situation I was looking to happen," said Rodriguez, who was flanked by other elected officials and supporters.

According to Rodriguez's tweet, more information on the arrest will be released today at 12pm on the steps of City Hall.

David Segal, spokesperson for Rodriguez, told The Huffington Post at shortly after 1 p.m. that the council member remains in custody at 1 Police Plaza.

In a release sent to HuffPost, Rodriguez's office said he and other protesters were being held "in clear violation of their right to counsel."

Upon request, NYPD officers routinely allow attorneys to meet with their clients in precincts across the city, the release said. His office insists their First Amendment rights are being silenced by New York police.

Segal told HuffPost Rodriguez went down to the park to show support when he heard there was a raid occurring. Sometime around 2:30 a.m., Rodriguez was arrested. During the scuffle that ensued, Rodriguez was injured and multiple reports said he was bleeding from the head when police took him into custody.

Fellow council member Jumaane D. Williams told HuffPost he got to Zuccotti Park just in time to see his colleague taken off to jail. He called the events over the past 12 hours "disgusting."

They poorly planned what would happen when they cleared people out, Williams said, which is the point where Rodriguez was arrested.

"I saw what looked like a cut and blood, I asked him what happened and and he motioned to the police officer," Williams said. He thought the cut probably occurred when Rodriguez was taken to the ground.

Williams reported that there had been no warning given to the City Council members, and he was upset that is was done under the "cloak of night."

Williams said he believed the protesters should regroup, and find another park, preferably in a commercial area.

"They've done a great job of getting a message that we're tired of this economic injustice," Williams said. "People should like me and the Mayor should be trying to take that energy and trying to harness it into positive solutions."

-- Tyler Kingkade

UPDATE: 11/15/11 - According to Ydanis Rodriguez's Twitter account, he is still "being held without access" to his lawyers along with other Occupy Wall Street protestors.

Rodriguez's colleague, Jumaane Williams, said he would be "speaking out against the arrest" at Foley Square and asked for the support from the community.

Ydanis Rodriguez, New York City Council Member, was hit in the head and arrested during last night's police raid on Zuccotti Park.

According to The New York Times, he was with a group near the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Street that was attempting to link up with protesters at Zuccotti Park. The group tried to push through a line of officers trying to prevent people from reaching the park. Mr. Rodriquez was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The National Lawyers' Guild New York Chapter released a statement on judge's order stating:

Earlier, at approximately 1 AM, the NYPD began massing around Zuccotti Park “aka Liberty Park.” In the following hours reports surfaced that the NYPD entered the park with police in riot gear backed up by numerous police vehicles, including a bulldozer, evicting occupiers. In the process they destroyed property and arrested dozens of occupiers and protestors including NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and District Leader Paul Newell.

Jumaane D. Williams, council member of the 45th district, and colleague of Rodriguez confirmed the arrest this morning via Twitter and that Rodriguez was "bleeding from the head thanks to NYPD."

Moments later, a tweet from Rodriguez's twitter account confirmed the arrest as well:

On November 8th, Rodriguez, a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, helped organized a march from Washington Heights to the financial district "because of the high unemployment that disproportionately affects his community."

During last week's march, Rodriguez said he was marching because even as a member of the City Council, he was part of the 99%.

"This fight is important for Latinos, for the African American community, but more than any group, this is important for the working class and the middle class."

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