EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Questions are being raised after several protesters were arrested on Long Island, with video of two of them going viral.
Were they justified arrests or a way to pressure an activist group to stop protesting?
One minute Friday, Tiandre Tuosto was shouting “peaceful protest!” Then at a red light on Hempstead Turnpike he said he tried to lead the 150-plus protesters to turn and officers arrested him.
“They were very physical, saying I was resisting, which I was never resisting,” Tiandre told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner on Sunday.
Mike Motamediam was a couple of steps behind Tiandre recording the incident.
“I stepped on that median in middle and cop politely put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Stay on that side, bud,’ and as soon as ‘Dre did it they arrested him,” Motamediam said.
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“I got the right to walk wherever I want to walk,” Terrel says on video.
A few seconds later he says, “If you want to protect me, you can.”
The officer appears to stop short in front of him, causing Terrel to bump into him. Police then arrest him.
“Don’t touch him! He’s not resisting!” is heard on the video.
“We always feel like they were protecting us, but today it was like, no, instead of blocking off the roads let’s let some traffic in so we can have something to charge them with,” Terrel said. “I got grabbed up, tripped, thrown to the ground, and the knee on my back and neck.”
He said the knee, similarly used in the killing of Floyd, lasted 20 seconds.
“When they put their knee on Terrel everyone kind of … even I started to cry, because I didn’t know if he was going to be next,” protester Cori Parham said.
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“He decided to go around the officer, bumped him a little bit. He was placed under arrest,” Ryder said. “One of the individuals decided to jump into oncoming traffic. A car came to a skidding halt. I can’t endanger my officers. And I gotta keep the protesters safe.”
The commissioner said this time protesters changed the planned route, causing confusion.
“They want us to stop. They’ve had enough of this, but our pain and, more importantly, our love that’ll make us continue,” Terrel said.
The protesters said they wont stop until a third party is assigned to oversee the conduct of the Nassau County police.
The protesters face charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic. They are seeking legal representation and also filing a complaint with the New York attorney general.