The Harvard-educated English professor who police say assaulted two NYPD lieutenants on the Brooklyn Bridge during Saturday's protests was released without bail early Sunday morning. According to the Post, the Manhattan DA's office wanted Eric Linsker's bail set at $25,000, because of his supposed "attempt to flee the country," a statement that the professor's supporters "laughed out loud" at. [UPDATE: Video of the confrontation has surfaced. See the bottom of this post.].
That claim is rooted in a detail from the criminal complaint against Linsker, who teaches at Baruch and Queens College, and is a student at Columbia's Teachers College. The complaint states that the bag an NYPD lieutenant allegedly recovered from Linsker contained his passport, along with two brand new hammers, his CUNY ID, a debit card, and "a pill bottle which contained marijuana." The complaint makes no mention of a black mask, which police had told reporters was part of the bag's contents.
"Based on what you found in the bag, how would you describe this protester? Would you consider him, you know, an anarchist? Maybe a 'lone wolf'?" one reporter asked at a late-night press conference at NYPD headquarters on Saturday night.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism (and former CBS reporter) John Miller took to the lectern to say that the contents of the bag were meant to be used "to commit assaults or property damage."
"This bag was basically constructed with those items to appear to be a kit for such purposes," Miller said.
The complaint alleges that NYPD Legal Bureau Lieutenant Chan saw Linsker "carrying a large garbage can towards the Manhattan bound lanes of traffic located below the walkway" on the Brooklyn Bridge, after officers escorting the protesters had seen trash rain down on the road.
Linsker then put the garbage can down, but the complaint says he resisted arrest; that was when "protesters grabbed at Lieutenant Chan and pushed and pulled him off of [Linsker]," with one of them wearing a mask punching Chan in the face and breaking his nose.
"Lieutenant Chan also observed several protesters assist defendant in removing his jacket so he could flee and evade apprehension," the complaint states.
Another officer claims that a protester handed him a third hammer, and said, "They were throwing these."
Linsker was arrested by members of the NYPD and FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force shortly before 4 a.m. on Sunday.
Linsker's attorney, Martin Stolar, who represented Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillian, told reporters, “Eric merely picked up a garbage can, and when told by police to put it down he complied.”
His roommate told the Post, “He’s not a violent person but he has very strong beliefs that there are problems with our current system and police, and he wants to do something about it."
Linsker, whose poem "Thwaites" was published in Adult Magazine, is charged with felony assault, felony riot, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrested, and possession of marijuana. His next court date is on March 23.
"It is incumbent upon all those who are protesting to set a high standard to respect the police"—de Blasio, directly addressing protestors
— Vivian Yee (@VivianHYee) December 15, 2014
UPDATE:Chris Nooney was one of several photographers who appear to capture the struggle.