Video footage from Wednesday night appears to show members of the New York Police Department arresting and beating protesters as the tumultuous 2020 presidential election remained undecided.
Two separate marches took place in Manhattan on Wednesday, the New York Daily News reports. The first group comprised roughly 400 "Count Every Vote" protesters, many of whom waved signs supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, who currently leads President Donald Trump in Electoral College votes 264-214. The first group of demonstrators later mingled with another group, at which point the “Count Every Vote” protesters reportedly dispersed.
The remaining protesters reportedly began chanting, “Fuck Trump!” “Fuck Biden!” and “Fuck the police!” and setting garbage fires along the street. At several points, they also clashed with the police.
The officers then reportedly “kettled” the protesters, or confined them to a small area in order to control the crowd, according to several social media users who were at the scene. The New York Daily News additionally reports that “police barred [demonstrators] from walking onto the street for about an hour.”
Footage of the clashes between police and protesters was uploaded to Twitter and Reddit. A video from the @protest_nyc Twitter account shows NYPD officers yanking several protesters out of the crowd and throwing them to the ground, while onlooking officers laugh at the ensuing mayhem. Other protesters—who are “packed like sardines on the sidewalk with nowhere else to go,” per the person filming the @protest_nyc video—begin chanting, “Let us disperse!”
The Wednesday night pandemonium in New York contrasted starkly with the protests in Detroit and Maricopa County, Arizona, where Trump supporters chanted "Stop that count!” and “Count that vote!" respectively. While police were reportedly present at the Michigan and Arizona protests, videos shared on Twitter showed both protests going off without a hitch, unlike the violent skirmishes in New York City.
Justin Hendrix, who helped organize the “Count Every Vote” event in New York, made an effort to distinguish their event from the violent demonstrations that took place later in the evening, telling the New York Daily News, “Our group worked desperately to be nonviolent and avoid police confrontation, and we did so. This other group started where we ended.”
The NYPD confirmed to the Daily Dot that it issued 25 arrests and 32 summonses during the Wednesday protests. Those arrests include three charges of obstructing governmental administration and one charge of criminal mischief in regards to the 2020 election.