Yesterday evening, a large protest was held in New York City for Michael Brown's death. The protest started in Union Square as a vigil, before hundreds of people marched north to Times Square for a sit-in.
While the New York's Police Department was certainly more reserved than Ferguson's — there was no tear gas, rubber bullets, or riot gear used — a handful of people were arrested. The crowd also felt some pressure from police officers, one of whom reportedly told a protester "the First Amendment doesn't really apply here right now."
Among those arrested was TreQuan Love, a protester and an artist, who was arrested along with two friends. All three are African American men. They were arrested along with two others, an organizer of the march and a man known from the Occupy Wall Street movement. Another arrest, of Jason J. Woody, was also reported yesterday evening, putting the total count at, at least five.
Love spoke to The Wire on Friday morning, and he shared his experience at the rally last night, and also described his treatment by the police.
The Wire: Did you join the protest at Union Square and march to Times Square, or at Times Square?
Love: Union Square. I arrived at Union Square around 7 p.m. The crowd was a decent size. As we started marching through the streets, the crowd unexpectedly grew.
What were you doing when the police approached you for arrest?
At that time, I was with two of my friends, his girlfriend and their child inside of the bank. My friends' girlfriend actually needed to use the ATM. With all the madness the TD Bank on 49th Street and 9th Avenue seemed like a safe haven for us. My two male friends were arrested and I recorded both of their arrests. The NYPD shortly arrested me after. None of us resisted arrest, but they kept saying we were. We just wanted to know why we were being arrested.
A Vine from the arrests:
When you were arrested, were you read your Miranda rights?
We were NOT read our Miranda rights. Not during the arresting process or after.
Were the police rude, name calling, etc, or were they polite, quiet, etc?
Most of the cops were rude and sarcastic. Our "arresting officer" wasn't even the officer who arrested us.
How long were you kept in custody?
We were held in custody from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.. So about 7 hours.
There were two others in the police car with you. Did you all get arrested together? If so, were the arrests all for the same charge?
We didn't personally know the two others who were arrested with us. One was associated with the group in charge of the march. The other person is a popular member of the Occupy movement. However, he just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What were you get charged with?
We were charged with Criminal Trespassing. According to the NYPD, we were trespassing in the bank, although we planned on using the ATM. There was just so much going on at the moment and we wanted things to die down around us.
Do you plan on fighting the charges? If so, have you been in touch with any foundations, such as the ACLU, to get legal help?
I'm not sure. A couple of lawyers have reached out to us because they believe we have a strong case on our hands. Me, personally, I still need to sleep on it. I'm due in court next month (September) so I have a very short time to decide.
How do you think race affected your experience?
I do believe race played a big factor. A couple came in the bank behind us (a tidy looking black man with a white woman) and they weren't arrested. I believe if the man was by himself he would have been in the back of that van with us. I'm not racist at all. I love people of all races. But I am aware of how things work in the world. Six white captains ordered to have me arrested. I knew they wouldn't take any white people into custody. Can't even be mad.
Overall, I'm not mad about what happened. None of this was planned. I went to march for a good cause. I remained a law-abiding citizen. However, things still didn't work out in my favor. Honestly, I'm happy I went through this. Excellent experience.