Retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis was arrested early this morning in New York City after taking part in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
Lewis, who retired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2004, joined
the Occupy Wall Street protesters on Tuesday, holding a sign that read “NYPD
Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries.” Lewis came to fame among followers of the Occupy movement after appearing on one of the Occupy Wall Street livestreams last night at 2 a.m.
In his late-night interview, Lewis expressed that he felt the NYPD should have approached Occupy Wall Street with alternative tactic, perhaps through negotiation, rather than forcefully removing them from the park:
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured. If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation–continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that. This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.”
In his interview, Lewis also criticized Mayor Bloomberg’s claim that the raid was necessary due the risk of fire, crime and health hazards in the encampment, calling that rationale “a farce.”
“They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting,” Mr. Lewis said.
Lewis also stated that he suspects the NYPD may try to get rid of him, “They’re trying to get me arrested and I may disappear OK? But as soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again.”
While critical of the NYPD’s handling of the protests, Lewis specified that his anger wa not directed at individual police officer, saying, “All the cops are, they’re just workers for the one percent and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited”.
News of Lewis’ arrest this morning was first broadcas on Twitter around 9:15 a.m. by the account @OccupyWallStNYC, which tweeted, “Philly Police Captain (Retired) has just been ARRESTED! #N17 #ows.” The group then followed up, “The arrested retired police captain’s name is Captain Ray Lewis. Immense cheers and music as he is taken away. #N17 #ows.”