A Black Lives Matter protester says she was the victim of sexual misconduct and assault at the hands of the NYPD during a recent demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.
At a press conference May 6, Maila Beach and her lawyer, Manhattan district attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi, told reporters that April 24 started out as a night like many others.
Beach and fellow demonstrators were preparing to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a continued call for justice for Black and brown victims of police violence. When the group began their march, Beach told reporters Thursday, the NYPD created a blockade with their bikes, forcing protesters to retreat. Eventually, officers weaponized their victims and tackled protesters to the ground, at which point Beach claims she was sexually assaulted.
“I could feel the front of my shirt being pulled up. At first, I was stunned and thought it was okay, that they didn’t mean to. I shouted: ‘you are taking off my shirt,’” Beach said. “Then I felt it being pulled past my chest and realized they are puling off my shirt. I started panicking and screaming as loud as I could that they were taking off my shirt. I started to try and pull down my shirt, but I was met with yells of ‘stop resisting.’”
Beach said she pleaded with officers, attempting to explain that she was merely struggling to remain clothed. She said she wound up being struck in the back of her skull and zip-tied before having her shirt hoisted over her head and then lifted to her feet.
With her pants falling down, she claimed, officers actually grabbed her slacks and yanked them down to her ankles, where she was then paraded to a nearby van.
“Then they made me stand there and wait naked for about 10 minutes,” Beach recalled through a stream of tears.
Beach and Aboushi said they will seek legal action against the NYPD.
In response to the allegations, police sources said they will review the lawsuit if and when they are served. But in the meantime, the department is claiming the incident didn’t happen the way Beach and witnesses assert.
“A preliminary review of the incident indicates that officers made every effort to ensure the individual remained clothed during the arrest, including asking for the assistance of a female officer in the process,” the NYPD said in a statement. “This person was arrested and later issued a summons as part of a group of people who had announced they were going to block the Brooklyn Bridge for an hour while thousands of people were stuck in residual traffic due to the roadblocks and detours resulting from the DMX memorial service. A series of announcements were given before any arrests were made of persons who refused to comply with the instructions to leave the Brooklyn Bridge roadway. The individual arrested in this incident was released after receiving a summons for blocking the roadway.”
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.