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Over 700 Occupy Wall Street Protestors Arrested on Brooklyn Bridge

After more than 700 Occupy Wall Street protestors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, a federal court judge will decide if the arrests were lawful after hearing arguments last week that the large group of protestors were trapped and arrested without any warning.

Jed Rakoff, U.S. District Court judge, talked about many videos in a hearing a federal court that attorneys for the protestors stated that protestors were given access to the bridge as high-ranking law enforcement officials let them access the area as well.

"They led people well out halfway across the bridge then trapped them on two sides," according to lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. The group repeatedly began saying, "Take the bridge, take the bridge," she said the officers allowed the crowd of protestors take over the pedestrian and car lanes of the bridge in October 2011 shortly before the majority of them were arrested and detained for processing.

"It's the police that made the determination to stop the traffic on the bridge for
hours," Verheyden-Hilliard said. None of the OWS protestors could hear above the volume of the crowd the single warning made by law enforcement to not block the street, the lawyer said. However, the judge also viewed a video shot and submitted by the NYPD's video unit that, as the judge says, reveals a bullhorn arrest warning to the protestors that was quite loud — the opposite of the video submitted by the plaintiffs showed.

Arthur Larkin, city attorney, said at the late afternoon hearing on Thursday that the arrests were lawful because the protestors were not in possession of a parade permit. In other words, they did not have official authorization to block a street so it was irrelevant if they believed they were authorized due to what police told them at the scene.

"The only permission that's lawful is written permission by the police commissioner," said Larkin. Additionally, he said the officers had given many warnings throughout the protest, telling the protesters not to block the streets or leave the sidewalks.

Did you know?

An unlawful arrest can possibly lead to all charges being dropped completely.
For example, if you were arrested for drunk driving, a police officer must have had legal reasons for stopping you. Discriminatory reasons are not acceptable and can lead to charges being discharged.