Violence erupted in Zuccotti Park yesterday morning as Occupy Wall Street protesters clashed with police on day four of their stakeout.
Seven people were arrested in two incidents, the police said. One protester lost a tooth during the clash, protester Patrick Bruner said. Another protester suffered a gash to the leg. Police acknowledged that the protester did have a cut on his leg, but he refused treatment, said Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne.
“There was a lot of shouting,” said Robert Grodt, 24, of California, a protester who witnessed the arrests. “They pushed their way into the crowd — eight cops just piled on this one kid. He couldn’t move.”
YouTube videos of the scuffle showed police officers dragging one person across the sidewalk, making several arrests.
Justin Wedes, 25, from Brooklyn, said he was arrested while using a bullhorn. He was held for several hours and released after being issued a ticket for not having a permit to use the device.
“We intend to remain always peaceful,” he told Metro upon returning to the park after his release.
An officer on duty at the park who witnessed the incidents said there were no immediate plans to clear the area of the protesters. He also said police used “as little force as was necessary” during the arrests.
“Police often arrest first and find reasons later,” said attorney Samuel Cohen, who is representing the group and filing an injunction on their behalf to protect their stay in the park.