The majority of Occupy Wall Street protesters who were arrested on September 24th during a demonstration at Union Square have rejected dismissal deals, and insisted that their cases go to trial. Over 50 of the 78 protesters—76 of whom were charged with minor, disorderly conduct violations—rejected prosecutors offers that charges be dismissed in six months time. "I was falsely arrested...It's unjust, what happened," said 47-year-old Lizzi Dierken, who claims cops "kettled" her and four other protesters that day.
Prosecutors allege that demonstrators blocked traffic and prevented pedestrians from getting by, but protesters maintain that they stayed on the sidewalk, left room for others to pass, and followed police instructions. Seventy-six of the 78 arrests were for disorderly conduct violations, which are the equivalent of a traffic ticket—the other two, who were not offered the plea deal, were charged with resisting arrest. The protesters who turned down the dismissal deal will be back in court on January 9th.
One of the protesters who did take the plea deal only did so for one reason: to sue the police. "I took the deal to move the process along—so I can press charges," said 24-year-old Samuel Queary. He claims he was unfairly arrested after he stepped outside from his job at Gray Dog Cafe to watch the marchers. "I just went out to videotape it—and I got tackled," said the Brooklyn native.
Below, you can see video of cops arresting protesters at the September 24th Union Square protest: