Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Please Support Common Dreams This #GivingTuesday

Our staff has grown and our coverage of the climate emergency, COVID-19, and rising authoritarianism has intensified over the last two years. But, our expenses during the pandemic have gone up as well. This has been one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Donations are down. Traffic to the website from Google and Facebook have inexplicably fallen off a cliff. If we have any chance of meeting our fundraising targets for the year, we need this to be the best #GivingTuesday ever. Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers ever make a donation. We're counting on you. Can you make that gift today to help Common Dreams end the year strong?

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

'Snatched and Grabbed' by the NYPD

Carl Gibson

The white-shirted NYPD officer took his empty Chipotle tray and stood up, walking over to the trash can. I stretched out my hands.

"I'll take that for you, bro," I said to him. He was caught off-guard.

"Do you work here?"

"No," I said. "Just felt like doing something nice for someone at the moment."

He shrugged, said thanks, and walked toward the door. Just before he left I called out, "Hey, are yall about to raid Zuccotti?" He didn't give me a straight answer.

Just afterward, I watched three NYPD vans scream down Broadway, throwing splashes of red and blue through the windows and into everybody's eyes.

My buddy Mark and I decided to change course and head straight to the action. As we neared commotion, chants and shouts near Trinity Church, one white-shirt got in my face as I looked around a wall of cops to see who it was that had just been knocked to the ground and handcuffed.

“Move back, or you’re next. I promise you that,” he said.

Suddenly, the crowd was on top of us, and police were violently and aggressively shoving several journalists snapping photos to the ground. I felt like I was in a mosh pit at a concert, where my body was simply being moved around by the crowd, not of my own volition.

Then, I felt two strong hands on my backpack yanking me into the chaos. I stretched out my hands.

“Mark! Grab my arms!” I shouted frantically. As I was pulled away, Mark said I looked like a victim in a horror movie, unable to be saved from his fate. (My parents, who turned out to be watching the livestream that night, let me know the exact moment of my arrest at the 1hr 36min march of this stream and in this photo.)

"Get down on the fucking ground!" an NYPD sergeant screamed at me, his left hand on the back of my head, and his right hand restraining my bicep. He flung me toward the sidewalk, and I stuck my hand out just in time to avoid hitting the concrete face-first. I felt his knee on my face as my arms were pulled tight behind my back, and felt the bite of the plastic cuffs eating into my flesh. I was then hustled to my feet and pushed into an NYPD van, which was full of 6 others, 5 of whom were journalists. Mark, who openly admits to purposefully avoiding any potential arrests like the plague, soon followed me into the van. We were whisked away to the 7th precinct, spent 3 hours in a cell before being given a court summons, the rest of our stuff, and being sent on our way. That night, the jail was 99% full of political prisoners. Mark’s cell, next to mine, was full of OWS graffiti that other political prisoners who came before us wrote into the walls.

The behavior of Bloomberg’s NYPD, who said the police force is his "own army...the seventh largest army in the world,” is unacceptable. I learned that a private citizen can be violently arrested and jailed for walking on a sidewalk, and that cops have free reign to trample basic human rights guaranteed by our founding documents. Bloomberg is the general in the 1%’s class war, determined to absolutely crush any public opposition to his banker friends’ greed and corruption, freedoms of speech, press and assembly be damned.

The NYPD learned from last year that kettling and mass-arresting 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge only adds fuel to the populist fire of the movement. They’ve now resorted to snatch-and-grab tactics, meant to disrupt group solidarity, stir up confusion and fear, and minimize media exposure. And given that thousands of Occupiers from across the country came to New York this weekend to celebrate the movement’s 1-year anniversary, the snatch-and-grabs of the 15th, mainly targeted at journalists and originators of chants, were meant to do little else other than to attempt to intimidate the group and discourage others from marching on the 17th.

The moment any of us get too scared to march, Bloomberg and the NYPD win. The moment we allow them to silence our dissent out of fear and intimidation, our freedoms have ended. Americans must wake up and realize what’s happening to their country and resist the creeping police state, or everything our nation was founded on will be lost in the next year.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Carl Gibson

Carl Gibson is a freelance journalist, columnist, and editor primarily covering political and economic news. His investigative reporting and opinion writing has appeared in CNN, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Barron's, MarketWatch, The Independent, The Houston Chronicle, and NPR, among others.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

2.5 Million Nurses Demand UN Probe Into 'Covid-19 Criminals' Blocking Patent Waiver

The European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, and Singapore "must be investigated for blocking a faster global vaccine rollout leading to the loss of countless lives."

Jake Johnson ·


WHO, South Africa Urge Nations to Lift 'Naive' Omicron Travel Bans

"The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic."

Brett Wilkins ·


EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel's 'Day of Destruction' of Palestinian Homes

"Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo