Here's some coverage much more forthright than the New York Times piece, which played what happened as a sort of Rashomon-style exercise in multiple perspectives.
New York police attack protesting New School students
By Sandy English
13 April 2009
In a display of brutality, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) arrested 22 students who had occupied the premises of the New School in Manhattan's Greenwich Village last Friday. Students were struck by police without provocation and thrown to the ground, and others were pepper-sprayed.
More than 20 police, wearing helmets, carrying plastic handcuffs, and wielding batons and pepper-spray, appeared at the school as the occupation began at about 5:30 a.m. Police presence increased throughout morning, as the police put up barriers and crime-scene tape to seal off the area.
Police vans and a truck from the Emergency Service Unit, the police unit that manages high-powered weapons and special siege and anti-riot tactics, appeared within a few hours. Soon, scores of police had surrounded the school building.
Emergency medical personnel and the Fire Department were also on hand. According to the New York Times, by 11:00 a.m. there were more than 100 police vehicles present and several mounted officers. Police helicopters circled overhead.
At about 11:30, police used bolt cutters to remove the chains used by the students to lock the doors and entered the building. They told the students to kneel on the ground and remove their backpacks. They were handcuffed one at a time.
As some of the students tried to exit by a side door in the building, police pepper-sprayed them and forced them back inside. Police chased down protesters on sidewalks near the school, striking some and throwing them to the ground, as videos by independent photographs have documented.
An NYPD spokesman, Paul J. Browne, denied pepper-spray or mace was used in the arrests, although, when later confronted with video evidence, he admitted that this had happened. Speaking of the unprovoked assault by one cop in attacking a protester, also caught on video, Brown told the media, "He pushed him and he fell down."
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