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Protesters, police clash again in New York City

A demonstrator is taken into custody in lower

A demonstrator is taken into custody in lower Manhattan, where police said 19 people were arrested during protests Thursday night. Credit: Craig Ruttle

A police officer was allegedly pushed to the ground and the city public advocate was shoved by police during protests in lower Manhattan on Thursday night, when 19 people were arrested.

The marchers were part of some of the same groups that have been demonstrating for months, beginning in the aftermath of George Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes. The marchers advocated for a range of causes, including the end of capitalism, the abolition of the police and for Black transgender people.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, was barely mentioned if at all, although several speakers at a pre-march rally expressed dismay at how many people voted for the Republican nominee, President Donald Trump.

In a tweet, the NYPD said that at Bond Street and Broadway, "an officer was pushed to the ground" and had a chain "pressed against his throat."

The tweet added: "The suspect was apprehended & will be charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon & attempted strangulation."

A Newsday reporter saw the melee — which involved a violent struggle of more than a dozen officers and a person on the pavement — but not what precipitated it. A supervisor in a white shirt was later seen walking on Broadway carrying the chain, which appeared to be the kind used as a bike lock.

The protest was policed by hundreds of officers, many clad in body armor who used their own bikes to push crowds.

Near that intersection, where at least three people were being arrested, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — who is first in line to succeed the mayor — was shoved by officers on bikes, as were reporters from several outlets.

"Officers then appeared to begin setting up for mass arrests — we intervened to try and de-escalate and prevent that," Williams said on Twitter, linking to a video of the shoving where a bystander says, "oh, my God."

He added, "Most importantly, there seems to be a lack of leadership when the City needs it the most."

There were 19 people arrested in the protests, including the man accused of using the chain, Levon Wheeler, 30, of Harlem, according to Det. Sophia Mason, an NYPD spokeswoman.

Wheeler is charged with assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, she said.

Asked on WNYC Friday morning what prompted the police to begin making arrests the night before, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "We’re gonna evaluate everything that happened. But I’ll tell you, I’ve been in enough of these after-action discussions to know that what you see in front of your eyes is not always the whole story, including what someone did in the course of the evening or if they have weapons on their person, and there’s reason to believe they’re about to use them."

He did not say when or whether the NYPD would explain what precipitated the arrests Thursday, but he said of protesters: "They should never be slammed to the ground. Of course not. Someone who doesn't break the law should be left alone by the police, period. There should be no violence, no intimidation, no negativity."

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