Friday, November 18, 2011
This is the scene of the take down of Brendan Watts -- aka Romania -- whose bloodied head is the iconic picture of the N17 Demonstrations in New York
I have not yet found any update on his condition, but a close up picture of him being man-handled by police on the ground was in my morning newspaper (unidentified, just a random "grab" photographed by AP, so I won't try to find and post the picture here). The scene can be found in the video above with very careful searching. It was a melee obviously.
According to witnesses who Tim Pool interviewed yesterday, Brendan "Romania" Watts had been on the barricades around the Plaza and was confronting police by shaking the barricades, trying to move them, and shouting at police officers. Apparently he started to pick up a barricade when one of the officers jumped over it and started chasing Brendan.
Again this is based on what I recall witnesses saying in Tim's video yesterday -- I'm sure it's on line if anyone wants to review it.
Brendan ran and apparently a number of other officers joined in the chase. Brendan fell and hit his head on the curb of one of the planters, and the police jumped him, with more and more joining in. Some of the demonstrators tried to intervene, and apparently at least one tried to get Brendan out of the middle of the fracas.
It is not clear that police actually struck Brendan, but they were grabbing him and trying to "control" him -- which you can sort of see in the video. Others were trying to get him out from under the police. At about 3:25 in the video, Brendan is seen being thrown out of the planter and onto the granite (?) surface of the Plaza. He's obviously badly injured. It's clear to me at any rate that the police recognize Brendan is badly hurt and it looks like they are calling for assistance. Then Brendan starts struggling, and it looks like the police are getting very rough with him. I don't know whether any medical assistance was called. It should have been, immediately, but we've seen over and over many incidents of demonstrators being injured by police being left to fend for themselves or being arrested and taken away in a severely injured state only to be neglected once in custody until their situation worsens.
It's obvious that once the police get Brendan under "control" he can't walk. They continue to rough him up (something similar happened with an injured demonstrator in Portland, and of course it happened in Oakland with Kayvan Sabehgi. Video of what happened in that incident seems to come and go. The Scott Olsen video is still widely available.)
It's easy to see why witnesses were not really clear on what happened. They couldn't see, and they couldn't get very close to what was going on because of all the police who crowded in.
Tim Pool was in the Plaza when this happened, by the way. He was at the opposite end of the Plaza when he saw the police rush in, and he attempted to get closer, but it was of little use given all the people and police on the scene. He said he knew who Brendan "Romania" was, and he had seen some of the interaction on the barricades, but he didn't know anything else.
Other people had taken video and still images of the fracas and the aftermath, some of which Tim tried to show on his stream.
At this point, that's all I know.