Arrests called a dirty deal
Mineola Bicycle Fitness and Mower
Woodbury Country Club
Fabric Warehouse Outlet
BY KAREN FREIFELD
August 31, 2004
Adina Lepp came out of Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday with her face, arms and legs blackened by grease - courtesy of the New York Police Department.
"I spent the night in a warehouse," explained Lepp, 18, describing the West Side pier where arrests during the Republican convention were processed. "There weren't enough bench seats, so you sleep on the floor and the floor is very oily."
The woman from Portland, Oregon, who participated in a "kiss-in" Sunday was among the more than 500 people arrested so far in convention-related protest activities. Though many already have been released without charges, being in police custody was no picnic, they said.
From wearing plastic handcuffs tightened until they hurt to sleeping on concrete floors in temporary barbed-wire pens, protesters who regained their freedom yesterday described the system as dirty, disorganized and degrading. Some cyclists who were arrested also complained of difficulty in retrieving their bikes.
Police, however, say that they have been "professional" in their handling of protesters.
Bicyclist Jason Buhle, 26, said he was riding with a group of some 60 cyclists Sunday morning when police sealed off the midtown street they were on.
"Police just surrounded us and threw some people off the bikes," said Buhle in the hallway of Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday afternoon.
Buhle, a research assistant at Columbia University, said he spent several hours on the street, handcuffed, and was then taken to the processing center at the pier.
At 1:15 a.m. Monday his group was taken to Central Booking at 100 Centre St., where he was fingerprinted. At 3 a.m. he was put in a holding cell in the infamous "Tombs," next to Criminal Court.
Buhle got to see a judge about noon yesterday, then was released and ordered to return in late October.
Chris Ryan, 34, a Manhattan filmmaker/musician arrested while on the Critical Mass bicycle ride Friday night, said he was never told he was under arrest, read his rights or brought before a judge during the more than 24 hours he spent in custody.
Still, he felt, others may have gotten even more of a raw deal.
"A lot the people I was arrested with weren't in the bike ride at all - including a Chinese food delivery guy. He was in the cell across from me."
Staff writers Lindsay Faber and Graham Rayman contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.