According to police, the two men who were arrested in front of the Sixth Street Community Center last night allegedly assaulted an NYPD sergeant with a metal pipe in front of the Starbucks on Astor Place. One of the men, 41-year-old Alexander Penley, is an attorney and has been an Occupy Wall Street organizer since the movement began in the fall.

Penley, along with 30-year-old Nicholas Thommen, were arrested around 10 p.m. after what witnesses described as a violent scuffle between the two men and police officers, and are charged with a litany of offenses, including assaulting a police officer, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and inciting a riot.

Penley has been quoted in stories about Occupy Wall Street in The Guardian and USA Today, and appeared on the local Manhattan television show Let Them Talk in October.

An NYPD spokesman said that officers received a report around 9 p.m. that a "disorderly group" had gathered in front of the Starbucks at Lafayette and Astor Place. A video transmission detailing that an officer needed assistance followed, and police found "individuals hitting the window of the establishment." When a sergeant attempted to intervene and make an arrest, "the crowd became unruly," and he was allegedly struck with a metal pipe by two men.

The officer sustained minor injuries to his hands and knees, and was taken to a local hospital before being released. The two men fled.

Around an hour later, police received a report that the two men in question were in front of the Sixth Street Community Center. The police spokesperson could not confirm accounts that police believed that bottles were being thrown off the building, which is what witnesses said they were told when the police arrived around 10 p.m.

An employee at the community center who refused to give their name said that to their knowledge, no one at the event was involved in any of the vandalism or violent action that had taken place beforehand, and had caused police to close Tompkins Square Park. Other witnesses agreed with this assertion.

Ben Myers, a mass defense office coordinator at the New York City chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild, said the organization was aware that Penley was arrested, but couldn't comment on the specific charges. "We're still working with jail support to secure his release."

[UPDATE] The NYPD's press release on the arrests refers to them as "anarchist-related arrests of individuals among a group of 25 who fought with police and who had tried to use eight-foot-long galvanized metal pipes to smash windows of a Starbucks at Astor Place and Lafayette Street at 8:45 p.m." The police also claim that patrons of Starbucks were hiding under the tables during the incident.

The release states that an NYPD lieutenant also sustained injuries in the incident, but there is no mention of their severity. After police took one man into custody outside the Starbucks, "At an after-party at the 6th Street community center within the confines of the 9th Precinct, police were assaulted again as they took a suspect outside of the location there into custody."

The Village Voice and livestreamer Tim Pool credit "black bloc" tactics, used by a group protesters who may not formally be tied to Occupy Wall Street but who have demonstrated with the movement in the past, most recently in January, when protesters threw bottles at police officers and allegedly tried to break the video equipment of livestreamers. The tactics involve dressing in black and engaging in extralegal activities.

Elsewhere yesterday, an Occupy Wall Street demonstration drew hundreds of peaceful protesters to Central Park for a "Spring Awakening" and General Assembly, and on Friday, the group engaged in "spring training" in Lower Manhattan. Watch the video by Mo Scarpelli below.

Occupy Wall Street // Spring Training // April 13, 2012 from Mo Scarpelli on Vimeo.