Thursday, April 30, 2015

Several dozen arrested in Freddie Gray protests in New York City

Josh Einiger reports from Union Square.

UNION SQUARE -- At least 100 people were arrested after protesters gathered in Union Square Wednesday night to demand justice in the death of Freddie Gray, the man who died while in police custody in Baltimore. The protesters then moved throughout Manhattan, shutting down several streets along the way.

Protesters converged at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, and the tunnel was shut down outbound as police blocked off the entrance for about an hour. It has now reopened to traffic. There are several groups of protesters now marching throughout Lower Manhattan, Times Square and Midtown.

Earlier, an estimated 1,000 people gathered at Union Square for the rally, then marched west on East 17th Street towards 5th Avenue.

The group was on East 17th Street about halfway down the block when police took a stand and ordered protesters to get on the sidewalk.

Those that refused started pushing and shoving with police officers. At least two officers were injured in the ruckus. Police with batons had to push the crowd back onto the sidewalk.

Before the march, while the group was in Union Square, police handed out flyers and used loudspeakers to warn protesters that they would be arrested if they didn't stay on the sidewalk.

The protesters chanted "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot" as dozens of police officers watched.

Organizers say the rally was meant to show solidarity with people in Baltimore. "The game plan is to make sure people are politicized about the issues that are happening in terms of police brutality," said one organizer. "What's happening not only in communities in Baltimore, but in Brooklyn and Harlem and across the country."

Demonstrations were also held in Boston and Minneapolis Wednesday night, while in Baltimore, a group of protesters marched to City Hall to protest Gray's death, chanting "Tell the truth. Stop the lies. Freddie Gray didn't have to die."

The rallies come as authorities try to maintain calm in Baltimore following the riots that rocked the city on Monday.

Police also revealed that a report on the death of Gray will not be released to the public on Friday as promised.

Authorities say Maryland's attorney general may file charges so the integrity of the investigation needs to be protected.

State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby is expected to get investigative findings from police on Gray's death, and will then have to decide whether and how to pursue charges against the six police officers who arrested Gray.

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