Photo by Chauniqua Young: #BlackLivesMatter from the Starbucks #BaltimoreNYC
The NYPD is on the offensive tonight, swiftly arresting numerous protesters marching in solidarity for Freddie Gray. Officers in riot gear violently shoved protesters to the pavement near Union Square in Manhattan, shortly after a rally ended and activists stepped into the street.
Gothamist reporter Christopher Robbins estimates that roughly 3,000 to 4,000 marchers who were halted by police officers forming a human barricade just west of Broadway at East 17th. The police were “shoving people everywhere, knocked people down and started arresting people,” he said. He saw at least 12 arrests, possibly more.
— Scott Heins (@scottheins) April 29, 2015
Police have asked that protesters march on the sidewalk, but given the size of the crowd, that seems unlikely, if not impossible. The NYPD’s swift and aggressive response to protesters’ attempt to march in the street appears to be a departure from officers’ more restrained approach during previous Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The NYPD is also using its military-grade LRAD sound cannon:
The protest has broken off into a number of groups, including one on Park Avenue South and one headed north on Broadway.
Freddie Gray, 25, was stopped by Baltimore police on April 12 and taken into custody for allegedly carrying a switchblade. Somehow, while in police custody, his spine was 80% severed at the neck. Gray fell into a coma and died on April 19.