In the above video, an Occupy Albany member struggles to breathe, and suffers a seizure after being hit with pepper spray, while fellow occupiers plead for an ambulance.
After a move by Albany city officials to obtain an eviction order from a New York Supreme Court judge, referred to by occupiers as a "legal ambush," ended in a melee at Academy Park Thursday night, and a brutal assault by local police.
When all was said and done, there were four arrests, two protesters, two police officers and a News 10 ABC cameraman suffering minor injuries, a city councilman who was pepper-sprayed in the face along with protesters, including one who after being hit with the spray seemed to suffer a seizure afterward and was taken away in an ambulance.
Oh, and the only surviving tent of the occupation was shredded in a tug-of-war between police and the occupiers.
During the melee, an officer on a horse pepper-sprayed the crowd, dousing a number of protesters in the face, witnesses said. Chuck Nasmith, 56, said he got hit in the eyes, even though he used his "Who would Jesus evict?" sign as a shield.
"I said, 'Please stop it' and that's when he sprayed me like mad'," Nasmith said. "He would spray people and scream 'Go home' with a smile."
In a statement, police said only two people were pepper-sprayed, but a reporter spoke with at least half a dozen who had signs of being hit directly in the face by the spray and were still in pain. Cellphone video shows the mounted officer spraying throughout the crowd.
Protesters chanted "Shame on you" and "We are peaceful, you are not!" at the police. They also chanted the badge number of the officer who had allegedly sprayed the crowd.
One officer was overheard saying, "We're supposed to get out of their faces" as police moved across the street shortly after the melee.
The encampment at Academy Park had been occupied since Oct.21 despite the park's nightly curfew until Dec. 7, when the city of Albany granted the protesters a temporary permit limiting the size to no more than 30 tents, and requiring that city code violations deemed safety hazards be corrected.
The video below shows the Albany police officer on horseback riding along next to the last of the occupation's tents being carried through the park as police and protesters struggle over possession. As he rides the horse beside the tent, he sprays pepper spray into the faces of the crowd.
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