According to the NYPD, most of the people arrested were agitators attempting to hijack a peaceful demonstration by inciting a riot. These individuals did this by lighting trash dumped in street corners on fire, hurling eggs and garbage and starting fights with police officers.
The arrests occurred at around 8 p.m., just as the demonstrators were making their way through the West Village neighborhood in Manhattan. According to an NYPD spokesperson, the agitators within the group had been setting fires wherever they went. (Related: WATCH: Trump supporters flock to Arizona State Capital to protect the vote… chant ‘four more years’ and ‘we love Trump.’)
“We appreciate and value the importance of freedom of speech,” said the NYPD on their official Twitter account. “Our top priority is and always will be safety. We have arrested more than 20 individuals who attempted to hijack a peaceful protest by lighting fires, throwing garbage and eggs in Manhattan.”
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Before the evening's marches began, the demonstrators gathered in Washington Square Park in the hundreds for their “Count Every Vote Rally.” The demonstrators said they were fighting “in celebration of justice, fairness and democracy.” The protest was also against Trump and the supposed prevalence of abusive police officers within the ranks of the NYPD.
This rally ended peacefully, with many of the demonstrators dispersing. However, some people in the park ended up gathering other people to join them in a new march around an hour later. From Washington Square Park, the group went out into the streets of the West Village, where the NYPD started receiving reports of civil unrest, vandalism and clashes with officers.
NYPD officers on bicycles prevented the crowd of several hundred from marching further into the West Village to cause more chaos. This is where things started taking a turn for the worse, as other groups of demonstrators started gathering around the officers and agitating them by chanting and shouting obscenities at them. This situation further deteriorated when some of the West Village residents near the incident started jeering at police officers from their apartment windows.
In response to the mob's growing restlessness, the NYPD announced through loudspeakers that the event was now an unlawful gathering and ordered them to disperse. More police officers arrived in the area to support the bike officers that were being stretched thin by the large crowd.
Mass arrests began shortly after several piles of trash were set on fire in the area. Bystander videos showed NYPD officers in riot gear arresting demonstrators or forcing them to disperse.
“We are working to de-escalate the situation near Morton Street in the West Village to prevent further damage from occurring,” said the NYPD.
The arrested individuals were handcuffed and led onto a New York City Department of Correction bus, and from there, they were taken to NYPD precincts and processed.
Photos released by the NYPD later show some of the items they confiscated from the demonstrators. These include a variety of knives, a taser and a handful of M-80 explosive firecrackers.
“These are not just fireworks,” said the NYPD on their Twitter account. “These are M-80s that could have caused serious injuries. Our officers recovered them from the vicinity of 5th Avenue and 8th Street tonight after dispersing a large group.”
They mentioned how weapons in a protest put many other people at risk and warned future demonstrators from acting similarly if they wish to join a march. Anyone caught with a weapon will be arrested.
The amount of violence being perpetrated by the New York rioters against law enforcement officers is escalating. There were two particularly notable instances during the demonstration on Wednesday night, a woman spitting in the face of a police officer and another woman punching another officer in the face.
Devina Singh, 24, was leading the large mob of demonstrators in the West Village when they were stopped dead in their tracks by the bicycle officers. This made Singh very angry, and a bystander taking videos was able to record her confrontation with a bike officer. She was heard screaming at the police sergeant, yelling obscenities and calling the officer a fascist before she spat on his face. She was immediately arrested.
Singh, who lives in Schwenksville in southeastern Pennsylvania, was charged with harassment, violation of local law and obstruction of governmental administration. She has two previous arrests in New York, one for resisting arrest in September and another for participating in an unlawful assembly in October.
NYPD Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes, Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, was busy arresting an individual at the demonstration in West End when one of the protesters, Rachel Menard, 23, decided to intervene. Before 10:30 p.m., Menard allegedly punched Hughes at least two times in the face as the assistant chief was busy putting somebody in handcuffs.
She was quickly subdued by other officers on the scene before she could do any more damage to the assistant chief.
Menard, from Brooklyn, is facing charges of felony second-degree assault and obstruction of governmental administration. She has the same address as the person she was trying to take away from Hughes, William Beaudoin who, ironically enough, was also trying to intervene in a different arrest. He is facing charges of resisting arrest, harassment and obstruction of governmental administration. The nature of their relationship is not entirely clear.
The three individuals mentioned here are just some of the over 60 demonstrators arrested that night, two dozen of whom have already been released on desk appearance tickets, while another 32 were given summonses.
Learn more about the state of the post-election violence in the United States by reading the latest articles regarding riots and demonstrations all over the country at Rioting.news.