Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, protesters, armed with their intentionally vague demands, have lacked a defining moment or iconic image to help propel media coverage. This week, they got both.
First, police clashed with protesters during Tuesday’s early morning raid on Zuccotti Park, and arrested several journalists. Then on Thursday, the Occupy movement got its face—albeit a bloody one.
During a demonstration in Lower Manhattan, 20-year-old Brandon Watts of Philadelphia grabbed a police officer’s hat and was subsequently tackled and arrested, sustaining a gash to his forehead. Watts’ bloody face appeared on the cover of the Daily News and Metro newspapers on Friday. (Interestingly, the New York Post went with the Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore for its Friday front page; the New York Times featured an A1 photo of the protests above the fold, but no blood.)
Before grabbing the hat, Watts allegedly threw an AAA battery at officers who had set up a barricade.According to the Daily News, he was charged with assault and grand larceny after receiving medical treatment at Bellevue Hospital.
According to the paper, it was Watts’ fourth arrest since the protests began in September.
Thursday also saw more police clashes with journalists. Michelle Fields and Direna Cousins, a pair reporters from the Daily Caller claim they were attacked by the NYPD.
The conservative publication has been critical of Occupy Wall Street, but protesters reportedly came the aid of Fields and Cousins.
After Fields was knocked to the ground, several Occupy Wall Streeters “came up to me right away and asked if I needed any medical assistance,” she wrote. “They were actually very kind and helpful. It was the police officers who were very aggressive.”