New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Police in riot gear enforcing a new curfew at Manhattan’s Washington Square Park arrested 23 people during a clash that left eight officers injured, authorities said Sunday.
Police surrounded unruly parkgoers who refused to leave the park after 10 p.m curfew Saturday. Videos posted to social media show a brawl as some some curfew breakers punched cops while officers sprayed mace and tackled suspects.
The curfew was installed for the park by local City Council members working together with local residents to curb drug dealing and drug use, police said.
Cops said the 23 people arrested included organized protesters along with regular parkgoers who refused to leave. Eight police officers were injured in the fray, according to police.
In one incident, a protester is seen throwing a punch at an officer. The officer quickly responds by pulling out a can of pepper spray and spraying the crowd. In other incidents police officers can be seen dragging parkgoers in handcuffs.
NYU graduate Matthew Damante was at the park an hour before the clash and said the assembly of police officers in riot gear was intense.
“I was there roughly 1 hour before this all happened. Police had 50+ vehicles there lined up the streets prepared to force people out of the park,” Damante tweeted. “The manpower they had on hand for a ‘noise complaint’ was 100% unreasonable. The intention to use excessive force was palpable.”
Of the 23 arrests, three people received summonses and 20 were given desk appearance tickets. Charges included assault, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, pedestrians on a roadway, disorderly conduct and unlawful demonstration, police said.
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