The head of the police sergeants’ union has issued a warning to
Occupy Wall Street: protest-related incidents that result in injuries to
his members could be met with civil lawsuits against any group
supporting the encampment.
Ed Mullins, president of the New York Police Department’s Sergeant’s
Benevolent Association, said Thursday that if one of his sergeants is
assaulted while policing the protests, his union would file civil
lawsuits seeking monetary damages against individual protesters as well
as any groups whose support has sustained the demonstrations in lower
Manhattan. Any civil suit would be in addition to criminal charges faced
by those protesters involved.
“What I’d like to make clear is people can protest, that’s their
right, it’s done every day of the week (in New York City),” Mullins
said. “But if a sergeant gets injured we are going to hold you
Mullins specified that it wasn’t just a warning to the protesters.
“We’re going to hold those who allow this to fester accountable too,” he
He said the list of those potentially liable could include people
providing financial support, food and other supplies to the protesters,
the city itself and even Brookfield Properties, owner of Zuccotti Park,
where protesters have camped since Sept. 17
So far, Mullins said, more than 20 officers have received injuries
while policing the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. He said in many
instances the protesters have “intentionally and maliciously” instigated
violent confrontations with police.
Representatives from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
To date, New York City police have made 969 protest-related arrests.
On Wednesday night, 14 people were arrested on charges including
disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, rioting and obstructing
governmental administration after blocking traffic while walking from
the protest encampment to City Hall. The protesters described the march
as an act of solidarity with the people tear gassed and arrested during
clashes with police in Oakland, Calif., earlier this week.
Citing the violence that occurred at the Oakland protest — an
incident touched off by police efforts to evict demonstrators from a
park — Mullins said he feared protesters in New York might be emboldened
to target his officers.
“I am compelled to place these so-called occupiers on notice,” he
said. “If it gets into violence here and my people are getting punched
and hit and getting injured, I intend to take legal action.”
Sergeant’s Benevolent Association attorneys believe they have the
right to seek monetary damages if sergeants are injured by protesters,
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