New York, NY – The New York Police Department (NYPD) made seven arrests – including one man who threw a brick at officers – during a pre-dawn raid Wednesday on the “Occupy City Hall” encampment in City Hall Park.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that in recent weeks the encampment had become “less and less about protest” as it filled up with homeless who pitched tents on city property, the New York City Patch reported.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that there were about 50 people camped in the park when officers arrived to clear it on July 23.
Commissioner Shea said city officials conducted outreach to those who were homeless ahead of the raid and gave them other options, the New York City Patch reported.
The mayor said his decision to clear the park couldn’t be compared with the same action conducted against the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011 because that raid was “needlessly provocative and legally questionable.”
RIP: NYPD has dismantled “Occupy City Hall” in an overnight raid ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/seNM046tTM
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) July 22, 2020
De Blasio said comparing the two occupations was comparing “apples and oranges,” the New York City Patch reported.
The mayor made the decision to order NYPD officials to have officers clear the park at about 10 p.m. on Tuesday night.
“The gathering there got smaller and smaller, was less and less about protest, and more and more it became an area where homeless folks were gathering,” de Blasio said. “I said repeatedly, we do always respect the right to protest, but we do have to think about health and safety first — and the health and safety issues were growing.”
But the mayor’s critics said the encampment wasn’t bothering the liberal politician until they started vandalizing nearby city buildings, the New York City Patch reported.
There were calls to clear the occupied area after the building named for David Dinkins, the only black mayor to serve in New York City, was spray-painted with graffiti.
A massive contingent of NYPD officers in riot gear descended on City Hall Park on July 23, a few hours after the decision was made, the New York Post reported.
A loudspeaker played a recording that advised those camped out in the park that it was unlawful to camp there but if they left, they wouldn’t be charged with anything.
— NYC Protest Updates 2020 (@protest_nyc) July 22, 2020
One man lobbed a brick at approaching police and it struck an officer’s shield and left a dent, the New York Post reported.
Commissioner Shea said the suspect was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer.
The other six people who were arrested when officers cleared the encampment were issued summonses and release, the New York City Patch reported.
By morning, videos showed that police had removed tents and most of the debris from the encampment.
BREAKING: pre dawn NYPD raid of Occupy City Hall encampment. There will be protests which will give Trump the excuse to send his camouflage goons to occupy New York. First Portland and now us. This is Trump’s re-election campaign. Pay attention #TrumpRussia pic.twitter.com/Wm1OnI3T0B
— Sandi Bachom (@sandibachom) July 22, 2020
Protesters tried to retake the park on Wednesday night with a march in the pouring rain but were held back by barricades guarded by police, WLNY reported.
Violent crime and shootings have skyrocketed in all five boroughs of New York City since new bail reform measures went into effect at the beginning of the year.
The problem was exacerbated when thousands of inmates were released from New York jails due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Violence stemming from the protests in the city had gone virtually unchecked under the liberal leadership of de Blasio, and attacks on police have been frequent and brutal.
A protester was filmed handing out baseball bats to other protesters in City Hall Park a week earlier, shortly before police officials were attacked during a “Stop the Violence” march on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Police said that 25-year-old Quran Campbell struck NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan in the face multiple times when the chief was trying to arrest him after he had already injured a lieutenant and another officer, the New York Post reported.
Chief Monahan suffered bruises and jammed fingers in the assault.
Campbell was charged with assault on a police officer but was released without bail following his arraignment.
Police also arrested 25-year-old Banks Shaborn after he viciously attacked NYPD Lieutenant Robert Mack and struck him multiple times in the face, the New York Post reported.
Lt. Mack, who is a member of the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group, sustained serious injuries as a result of the attack by Shaborn and Campbell.
Both of the lieutenant’s orbital bones were broken and he required 12 stitches to close up gashes on his face, the New York Post reported.
Police said Shaborn had a Taser in his pocket and a folding knife in his shoe when he attacked the police officials.
Shaborn is facing charges for assault on a police officer and criminal possession, the New York Post reported.
He was held on a $10,000 bail.