2 Occupy D.C. protesters held on assault charges
By Annie Gowen,
Two Occupy D.C. protesters were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court and held Monday on felony assault charges, each accused of assaulting a police officer during Saturday’s raid on the Occupy encampment in McPherson Square.
Jeremiah D. DeSousa threw a glass bottle at a Park Police officer, seriously injuring one of his eyes, police said. Police initially said that DeSousa, 29, of Charlotte had thrown a brick.
Nathan Gorecki, 32, of Los Angeles is accused of throwing a bamboo stick at another officer during a clash with police. Gorecki has a broken arm and a gash on his head that his attorney said he suffered after he was arrested.
On Monday, protesters took to social media forums to denounce Gorecki’s injuries and allege that police had used excessive force during Saturday’s raid, which began in the pre-dawn hours with dozens of officers on horseback and on foot descending on the federal park.
“Before this weekend, it appeared that the National Park Service was very conscientious respecting First Amendment rights, but the way it went down on Saturday was very disappointing,” said Rachael Moshman, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild who volunteers with the Occupiers. “The fact that they had to use such force to break up a peaceful encampment was unnecessary.”
U.S. Park Police spokesman David Schlosser said little about Gorecki’s injuries, saying that after he was arrested, he was treated at Georgetown University Hospital and released back into police custody. The officer’s and Gorecki’s injuries were the only ones reported, he said.
Eleven people were arrested Saturday during a day of clashes between protesters and police as officers moved to clear the camp of dozens of tents, bedding and debris. At least twice during the day police pushed angry protesters back with riot shields and nightsticks.
A 12th protester was arrested Sunday in a quieter sweep of a similar encampment at Freedom Plaza.