A judge today set a March 9 court date for Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who was arrested last November during the police raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park.
Rodriguez maintains that he was injured and falsely arrested by the NYPD while trying to observe the police action against the demonstrators. His legal team is seeking to dismiss the case on the grounds that the police action was not legitimate.
“What I feel is I was falsely charged by two members of the NYPD,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview today. “I believe in the legal system, and I have no doubt that at the end of this process, these charges will be dismissed.”
Rodriguez was charged with obstructing government regulation and resisting arrest. Andrew Stoll, Rodriguez’s lawyer, said the case begs the question whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly have the authority to impede access to public areas of the city without cause.
“There is nothing within the face of the complaint to indicate this was legit police action that he was impeding,” Stoll said. “The police and the mayor don’t have authority randomly, at will, shut down any public area of city that they want to shut down.”
Around 40 other Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested during the raid appeared in court today as well.
Rodriguez and several of his Council colleagues are currently engaged in an effort to bring more transparency and accountability to the NYPD, specifically by ending the controversial practice of stop-and-frisk.
“700,000 people are stopped and frisked every year,” Rodriguez said. “98 percent of those cases have been proven to be innocent people … We hope that the NYPD will analyze and make changes.”
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