Update: Mr. Lewis has been arrested, according to multiple reports.
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis was in Zuccotti Park last night with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Mr. Lewis showed up in uniform carrying signs a pair of signs imploring New York City cops to join the protests. “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries,” one read. Mr. Lewis was interviewed on one of the Occupy Wall Street livestreams at about two this morning. He was sharply critical of the NYPD’s conduct during their raid on the protest encampment Tuesday. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for,” Mr. Lewis said.
A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson confirmed to the Observer that Mr. Lewis was a captain prior to retiring in 2004. He was photographed at the protests yesterday afternoon as demonstrators ringed Zuccotti Park in the wake of their eviction.
In his late night interview with the livestreamers, Lewis said police in New York City should have dealt with Occupy Wall Street through negotiation rather than forcefully removing protesters from the park.
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured OK? If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation–continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that,” Mr Lewis said. “This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.”
Mayor Bloomberg has stated the raid was necessary because the protest encampment carried with it a risk of crime, fire and health hazards. Mr. Lewis called that rationale “a farce.”
“They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting,” Mr. Lewis said.
Mr. Lewis said the police want to get rid of him, but he vowed to keep coming back to the protests.
“They’re trying to get me arrested and I may disappear OK?” Mr. Lewis said. “As soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again.”
Mr. Lewis thinks some officers might appreciate his presence, but not top brass.
“I’m their worst enemy, especially with the white shirts, the bosses OK? Some of the fellow cops they might be thinking, you know, ‘That guy, he’s got a point,’ but the bosses, i’m their number one enemy,” Mr. Lewis said.
Mr. Lewis clearly doesn’t think the NYPD likes him, but he told the protesters he doesn’t think cops are their enemy.
“All the cops are, they’re just workers for the one percent and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited,” Mr. Lewis said.
Viewers who watched Mr. Lewis’ interview told us he spoke on camera for more than 40 minutes. We’ll try to get our hands on a full clip, but for now, you can watch an excerpt of Mr. Lewis’ livestream appearance below.