Ari Douglas, the legal observer whom the NYPD claims was "not trapped" under an NYPD scooter that hit him yesterday during an Occupy Wall Street march, has been released from Bellevue Hospital and was just arraigned at Manhattan Criminal Court. The NYPD's spokesman alleges that Douglas "purposefully put his legs under the scooter and then falsely claimed he was trapped," but Douglas's attorney, Yetta Kurland, tells us that allegation is baseless. "To suggest that a trained legal observer would find it prudent to throw himself under an incoming motor vehicle is absurd," Kurland told us.
Kurland says that while she hasn't reviewed her client's medical records, he was treated with "lacerations to his entire face and injuries to his legs and feet. Luckily nothing was broken."
But what about Douglas's bloodcurdling screams heard in the video? Why would he scream like that if nothing was broken? "It's clear that he was in distress, that he was trying to get away. He had just been hit by a motorcycle." She continues, "Even if he did place his leg underneath the scooter, it does not give the police a license to pin him down and charge him with felony criminal mischief and resisting arrest. Clearly this man was not resisting arrest."
As for Douglas kicking over the scooter, Kurland characterizes it as Douglas "heroically trying to dislodge himself from the vehicle. This is speculation, but it could be that his shoelace got dislodged in the vehicle. And when you drive a scooter into a crowd of people, you can expect a shoelace to get caught or bodies to get tangled up in the machinery. The officer did not even dismount his vehicle to help him."
Kurland believes there needs to be a "very careful independent investigation on the NYPD's police tactics, to make sure they're safe for the people of New York City."