By KERRI BYAM and DOMINIQUE CARSON
Occupy Wall Street protesters marched outside of Police Headquarters on Tuesday demanding the resignation of Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The protesters’ rally was held in response to what they said was improper conduct by police officers at Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary in Zuccotti Park on March 17. At that rally over 90 protesters were arrested, five people were hospitalized with broken bones, and three others suffered minor injuries.
“NYPD is screwed. If they beat and arrest protesters, more protesters will come,” said Tim Pool, a 26-year-old LiveStream journalist.
Christina Gonzalez, a member of Occupy Wall Street since its second day last September, hasn’t been deterred by police violence. Gonzalez has been arrested five times since September 24, 2012 but continues to protest.
“I am here because I am a concerned citizen,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what you have to be to make this thing stop.”
Occupy Wall Street protesters cited a number of grievances behind their demand for Kelly’s resignation. Protesters spoke about the victims of the Police Department’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy, surveillance of Muslim communities, the beating of Jatiek Reed, 19, and the police shooting of 18-year-old Rahmarley Graham in the Bronx in February.
Linnea Paton, a member of Occupy Wall Street’s press team, said “Commissioner Kelly has to step down immediately, but we are concerned about Muslim students, policies in minority communities, and putting an end to Stop-and-Frisk,” adding that the group is air jordan 13 “calling in an investigation by the Attorney General about police oppression in Occupy Wall Street.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the Police Department in its dealings with the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying that police are able to control crowds without using excessive force.
The mayor added that police officers started arresting protesters only when they began setting up tents and sleeping bags in Zuccotti Park, which was not allowed.
On March 13, Quinnipiac University released a poll on March 13 in which New Yorkers supported Kelly’s performance as police commissioner, with 64 percent o the voters surveyed backing him.
The Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Bill Csapo, an Occupy Wall Street activist, said protesters will continue to march because there has been no progress and they can no longer deal with the abuse from police.
“We’re not in it for the fame, we’re in it for the future because we are fighting for our future,” said Csapo.
Occupy Wall Street protesters are organizing a march, “Let Freedom Spring” on Saturday, March 24, starting at Zuccotti Park and ending at Union Square, to protest against the Police Department. They are also planning a march on May 1.