Hundreds peacefully marched on One Police Plaza November 2, in solidarity with Occupy Oakland's General Strike and in response to the brutality that hospitalized Scott Olson, the 24-year-old Iraq War Veteran who had his skull fractured by a police projectile.
Leaving from Liberty Square at 5 pm, the march represented a powerful overlap of War Veterans and the People of Color Caucus, who have been protesting NYPD Stop and Frisk policies, as well as police shootings and brutality against people of color.
Upon arriving at the NYPD headquarters, a member of the People of Color Caucus addressed the crowd. “This building here looks like administrations. To The 99 percent who are people of color, this building is a tombstone. This tombstone has been the burial place of hundreds of people of color since the beginning of New York.”
Follow this, he asked that the crowd raise their hands and swear, “To protest under your first amendment rights whenever there's an act of brutality or other threats to the rights of communities of color.”
Also present was Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas, who gained viral fame when he shouted down a number of police officers from intimidating protesters at the rally in Times Square on October 15. He briefly addressed the crowd saying, “You have a right to be here and the Vets are here to protect you!”
A few could be seen marching with orange mesh bands tired around their arms – cut and displayed as a trophy from the NYPD's kettle net confiscated by protesters during the October 26 march in response to the initial Occupy Oakland shutdown. Along with the standard chorus of chants that OWS protesters have become familiar with, the crowd could be heard shouting, “From Oakland to NYC, stop police brutality!”
There were several veterans and occupiers from Oakland and the Bay Area, including Allie, a medic from Occupy Oakland who was with Olsen after he was injured.
“I just want to thank Occupy Wall Street for the solidarity,” she said addressing the crowd, visibly emotional. “It means more to me than I can articulate to be here with everyone. Thank you and I love you.”
Army Specialist Jerry Bordeleau, member of Iraq Veterans Against The War, has been coming to Occupy Wall Street for a while, but felt it particularly crucial to stand with his fellow Veterans on this march.
“Scott Olson did not serve two tours in Iraq only to suffer a massive injury as a result of a police crackdown in a peaceful demonstration,” he said. “I believe that is especially important on our part as Veterans to get together and demonstrate our support for Scott Olson and the movement. We did not fight abroad only to come home and not exercise our rights that we bravely defended.”