The wealthiest elected official in U.S. history continues to use his office to shield a financial sector that helped him build a $20 billion fortune while precipitating the worst global economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Bloomberg, who views the New York City Police Department as his “own private army," sought to hinder his fellow Americans' First Amendment right to “freedom of expression without government interference” during a rally against soaring tuition costs, a march for universal health care, and an ongoing vigil against predatory financial practices.
More than 6,000 arrests have occurred nationwide since Americans began protesting the concentration of our nation’s wealth in the hands of the richest 1% in September, with the NYPD accounting for more than any other law enforcement agency. Bloomberg’s private army tallied another 19 of their fellow countrymen and women Wednesday.
Occupier Andrew Speirs, 22, of Dallas, said modern America bears little resemblance to the democracy he was taught about in school.
“This is corporate facism and here in New York it's a dictatorship, too,” Speirs said. “I came to New York City because the Bloomberg Nanny State epitomizes everything that’s wrong with America right now – the arrests, the divide between rich and poor and the mass amounts of advertising that are being used to mislead people.”
A nonviolent protest against police brutality in New York City played out like a script from the satirical Colbert Report on Saturday as at least 14 marchers were arrested and many more were manhandled, including a 16-year-old girl whose shirt was torn off.
"Another day, another few notches out of the right to assembly in Bloombergistan," Nick Mirzeroff said of the March 24 arrests. "A march against police violence was broken up by – guess what – police violence."
Messiah Hamid's arrest stunned veteran members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who shouted at police "that is a 16-year-old girl" and "that's a kid" as she was carried away, hands tied behind her and shirt torn open to expose the red bra underneath.
One video of the incident suggests Messiah was targeted by officers after she exchanged words with the driver of a police scooter heading the wrong way through marchers on a congested one-way street. The 16-year-old and several other young women subsequently became entangled and fell to the pavement, according to a bystander.