NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were more arrests Thursday night at protests throughout the city.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, there was a very heavy police presence throughout the night, and even though things began peacefully, it escalated quickly. As of this report, it was unclear what sparked the arrests, but police believe outside agitators are tactfully infiltrating peaceful demonstrations, with the intent of destruction.
Protesters clashed with police by Houston Street in Lower Manhattan. Dozens of officers tried controlling the crowd of hundreds at a Black Lives Matter protest and took several people into custody.
The NYPD later said there were at least 10 arrests.
It marked the second straight night demonstrations turned ugly.
Nearly 60 people were arrested Wednesday night, including Jonathan Peck, who was charged with disorderly conduct.
“Four officers, two kneeled on my ankle, two on top of my chest,” Peck said.
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Police believe outside agitators hijacked a peaceful demonstration with the intention of wreaking havoc, and they later recovered a Taser, hammer, knives and fireworks from the area.
“We saw people with intent on disrupting peaceful protesters, intent of destruction. The small number of individuals had no regard for safety of the peaceful protesters,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes said.
Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said handfuls of agitators strategically infiltrate protests with tactics from around the globe.
“What we’ve seen is written material that was prepared, including charts delineating different roles that were made by protesters as far away as Hong Kong,” Miller said.
The NYPD released mugshots of five people arrested for violent crimes, including assaulting an officer.
“They haphazardly ran into one of our bikers and took that as a sign to start making arrests and from there the situation only escalated,” Peck said of police actions.
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Video also shows cops forming a line and using their bikes to confine demonstrators, dragging at least one protester through the crowd.
“They pretty much held back the crowd in a protective type nature,” Holmes said. “There were fires set ahead of the crowd. They didn’t realize that and maybe we could’ve communicated that a little bit better.”
There weren’t any reports of looting Thursday or Wednesday. Police said they are prepared for and expect these protests to continue for the foreseeable future.
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