A video of a lieutenant, captain or inspector-rank police office hitting protesters with a baton has just emerged from the scene now near Occupy Wall Street’s headquarters at Zuccotti Park in the Financial District, where police are barricading the protesters with metal fences in order to control the large and agitated crowd. After today’s megamarch with the unions and students from at least five universities, protesters regrouped at Liberty Park Plaza around 6:30 p.m.
The Observer was all marched out–but the protesters weren’t. The number of union jackets dwindled, but marching continued in circles around the park.
Around 9 p.m., a cohort of marchers were cordoned off by police officers on Wall Street. It looked as though there would be mass arrests. The police ended up shuttling the protesters down Williams Street and directing them back toward the park. The strategy by the NYPD seemed to be erecting more barriers to limit where the protesters could march. The Broad St. J train was inaccessible, blockaded by the NYPD and metal fences on Exchange Place, Broad Street and Wall Street. A group of Wisconsin tourists who had a reservation at Bobby Van’s steakhouse were forced to turn back to Times Square.
The Observer was able to sneak past the barricade on Exchange Place due to the good fortune of running into a pair of well-dressed young startup founders of our acquaintance, who were also headed to the train but told the police they needed to get to the NYSE for the SAI 100 event. The cops were obviously tense.
Who coordinated the barricade?
“Chiefs,” one blue-shirt outside the Broad Street Starbucks said. “Lots of chiefs.”
“Too many chiefs in the kitchen?” one of the techies asked. The police officer affirmed.
But as we slipped through the cracks of the barricade, we could hear the cries of the protesters one street over. As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the official count from Occupy Wall Street is 27 arrests.
It’s unclear exactly what time this video was taken or what happened immediately beforehand to provoke the violence, but it was just posted to YouTube and shows a white-shirted police officer beating protesters with a baton:
UPDATE: Members of the FOX 5 crew also caught pepper spray and a baton.