First-Hand Account: Activist Randy Credico's Violent Arrest at Occupy Wall St. March

 Saturday night thousands of protesters marched from Wall Street to Times Square on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.  I was there and witnessed the tremendous crowd that had gathered. The mood of the crowd was festive, as protesters carried signs that flaunted catchy slogans to capture attention.  I parked myself under a large bright yellow banner plastered with large black letters that spelled "WAR STREET." Next to that a young protester held another sign that containing a biblical message that spooked me.  It read "THE END IS NEAR."

What struck me as surreal was the backdrop of corporate America plastered on billboards and neon signs that glittered among the disenchanted. The chants of the crowd echoed their dissatisfaction.  Although it was a peaceful crowd, I sensed fear in the eyes of the police when I witnessed them strutting up and down the streets trying to maintain order.  The police had corralled protesters off into sections of the street for crowd control squeezing them together like trapped cattle.  Several blocks away on 46th and 7th Avenue, protesters gave voice to their discomfort.

 The Wall Street Journal reportedthat police arrested three people who tried to take down police barriers. Some people ran to try to pull down the barrier and then ran back into the crowd. It was at this point that political activist Randy Credico was snatched from the crowd and beaten by police.

Randy told me, "The real story is, I was standing several rows of people behind the breached barrier minding my own business and all of a sudden this cop who was eyeing me throughout the march from Wall Street grabbed me and threw me to the floor and started repeatedly kicking and punching me.  Then to add insult to injury a bunch of other cops joined in on the action.  I did not fight back and I had not provoked them. " He told me that the really beat-up the guy who was standing next to me.  Credico's arrest was captured on film by  NY 1.   He is represented by the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Randy is a well-known political activist who has been at the forefront of several political actions including the reform of New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws.  He recently challenged Senator Schumer last year in a run for his senate seat and has an eye on a possible run for city council. His life story was captured in a very funny documentary by Laura Kightlinger called "Sixty Spins Around the Sun" which was produced by Jack Black and has appearances by Larry David attesting to Credico's colorful life.

But the question I ask is why was Credico really beaten up?  Randy has been a regular participant at Liberty Park and part of the daily demonstrations and marches since September. He has added humor to a very serious cause by playing various characters such as Satan, Senator Chuck Schumer in a clown outfit and Greek Philosopher cynic Diogenes. Several days before Credico led a group of protesters from Liberty Park when they found out that Mayor Mike Bloomberg was dinning nearby at Caprini's restaurant.  He was photographed holding a stack of papers which represented 200,000 signatures that were collected and part of a petition by calling on the mayor to keep Liberty Park open. Mayor Bloomberg had called for the closing of the park for cleaning last week.  Thousands of protesters filled the park and the police called off the plan to try and get the protesters out. The action was successful and was considered a victory for the protesters.  The photo appeared widely on the internet and in several newspapers.  Could Credico's beating be retaliation for this action?  After all Kelly and the Mayor had egg on their face because of their failed attempt. Or maybe this beating and arrest stems back from an incident in 2008 when Randy was arrested for documenting marijuana arrests in the west village.

Who knows whatever the reason may be. But all I know innocent protesters like Credico are catching bad decisions because of police brutality. It has to stop and we are calling on Mayor Bloomberg Commissioner Ray Kelly to curb the uncalled for actions of New York City police.

AlterNet / By Tony Papa

Posted at October 16, 2011, 12:12pm

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