The earlier curfew on New York City implemented Tuesday night seemed to have helped the NYPD clamp down on roving groups of looters, vandals and those attempting to stop traffic at various locations in Manhattan.
The heavier crackdown came after Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted both the mayor and the NYPD over their handling of the protests Monday, specifically for not doing enough to stop the looting.
Shortly before the curfew went into effect, thousands gathered at numerous locations including Gracie Mansion, Bryant Park and Union Square in Manhattan, as well as the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. There were fewer arrests at these demonstrations than in previous nights.
There was one altercation on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue where police were forced to arrest between 40-50 people for unknown reasons in addition to the curfew.
Yet police were not so tolerant as some groups broke off from the larger marches and attempted to loot and vandalize retail stores in various areas. That led to about 150 arrests overnight, police officials say.
The crackdown was particularly strong in SoHo and Lower Manhattan, both areas that had suffered damage from rogue protestors who took their anger out on those shops, or were using the protests as an opportunity to steal.
Roving bands of 30 or more individuals began smashing windows and throwing bottles on Mercer Street yet again, but police quickly moved in to nab them. Cops also quickly moved to shut the streets down.
Several people were quickly arrested for breaking into one store on Prince Street, forcing some of the roving groups to flee the area as helmeted police beefed up presence.
Many of those same people began flowing downtown along Broadway and joined up with a larger group marching from Union Square. Riot police followed the group but did not interfere until they reached the Hugh Carey Tunnel, where some surrounded a police vehicle briefly and others tried to block access to the tunnel, which was quickly shut down by MTA officers.
Cops there arrested 41 people, many nabbed on West Street where the melee occurred. Bottles and debris were tossed as some officers, resulting in several more arrests, and several officers receiving minor injuries.
Attempts to enter the National September 11 Memorial were thwarted by throngs of police officers from both the NYPD and Port Authority.
In a related story, a Corrections Department bus lost control on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue collided with a car, injuring two people in that vehicle. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
Police were determined to secure the downtown Financial District, where thousands of officers were deployed to keep the vast numbers of protestors from moving south after curfew.
At Broadway and Vesey Street, some protestors attacked officers – one lieutenant had his helmet knocked off after protestor struck him in the head. Several men were arrested in that incident, some arrests made by members of the NYPD legal team.
Cops quickly began forcing protestors out of the area. Commanders shouted, “everybody go home or you will be arrested.” The group that was more than 500 in size quickly broke up and began moving towards the Manhattan Bridge.
At the Manhattan Bridge, protestors from Brooklyn were met with a sizable roadblock, stopping them from flowing into the city. Eventually, that crowd of more than 1000 was forced to return to Brooklyn peacefully.
Some who slipped through or met that crowd at the bridge began flowing back into Chinatown and SoHo, where more people were arrested for throwing debris or vandalism.
There were also scattered reports of vandalism on Fulton Street by smaller groups that had splintered off from the bridge and from Barclays Center. however, police say the crowds were mostly peaceful.
Chief of Department Terrence Monahan was visibly angered Tuesday after Cuomo slammed the department for “not doing their jobs.” Monahan said officers put their lives on the line during the protests.
The NYPD’s police union, the PBA, issued a statement from President Pat Lynch that said: “Rank-and-file New York City police officers were out on the street last night doing our job. Tonight, we’ll go out and do it again. It’s not our fault that our city and state governments can’t plan and work together, but we are suffering the consequences. Police officers are being run down, knocked down and almost shot on a nightly basis. The political tug of war between Albany and City Hall needs to stop, because it is putting police officers in danger.”