It’s no secret that Occupy Wall Street protesters and police departments don’t get along too well. A quick Google search for “Occupy Wall Street police brutality” will bring up dozens of reports and pictures of police officers using excessive force against protestors.
A new lawsuit out of Manhattan is the latest from Occupiers alleging police misconduct during a protest. The protestors involved are Heather Carpenter and her fiancé Julio Jose Jimenez–Artunduaga. Carpenter alleges her breasts were groped by an NYPD officer and Artunduaga claims he was needlessly kicked by officers.
The events allegedly transpired in 2011 while the couple was protesting at a Manhattan-area Citi Bank. Carpenter is a customer at the bank, and was protesting a Citi policy in which she would be charged a $17 monthly fee if her bank account fell below $6,000.
The protest took place inside the bank, and Occupiers refused to leave when told by bank officials to protest outside. Citi workers called the NYPD, and officers arrived and began arresting protestors.
After being asked to leave the bank, Carpenter went outside but began recording the arrests taking place within. It was then that an officer grabbed her and said “Come with me.”
After being removed from the bank, Carpenter claims an unknown officer approached her from behind and grabbed her breasts. Artunduaga, meanwhile, was dragged into the bank lobby and kicked onto the ground by officers. Both Carpenter and Artunduaga were arrested and held for 32 hours before being released.
"Although these allegations are disputed, they raise issues of fact which may only be resolved by a jury," U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said last week. "While 'not every push or shove' permits a Fourth Amendment claim to survive summary judgment, bruising and other non-permanent injuries may be sufficient.”