A high density of bars and nightclubs combined with manic out-of-town revelers and wary locals gives the Lower East Side an electricity all its own. It also provokes scenes like the one late last night at the intersection of Rivington and Orchard around midnight. Nightclub Tammany Hall was hosting an album release party for rap group Smif N Wessun.
By the accounts of the witnesses in the video below, as well as those we talked to on the street, the event itself was packed, but not violent. Representatives from Tammany Hall could not confirm whether or not the police ordered the event to be shut down, but hundreds of people spilled out onto the street, and at 2:48 in the video you can see a police officer repeatedly baton a man who is shouting "What are you touching me for?" despite a woman's efforts to separate the two.
On Twitter, @DJWayneSki said "Orchard St... Tammny Hall. They beat regular people up..women.. Didn't matter," while @iamcurvel noted "L.E.S Orchard St- Tammany hall, Smif n Wessun & Pete Rock event, got shut down! 20 cop cars, and ambulance."
After we received a tip of a "mob" in the area, we arrived at the scene around 12:30 a.m. to see about 50 people milling about, with at least six squad cars and an ambulance. A man who was bleeding through the gauze around his head was handcuffed and being led into the ambulance, while the police officer who wielded his baton in the video was explaining to his superior what happened, saying that he was scratched but not seriously injured. Indeed there were no signs of serious injury to the officer, and after the ambulance left, the remaining crowd dispersed.