Did he or didn’t he? Ari Douglas, a National Lawyer’s Guild legal observer at the Occupy Wall Street protests, became an object of online debate when video of him on the ground screaming and writhing in pain (seen below) appeared on the internet. However, while other videos may show the NYPD overstepping their bounds (including one that very day), opinion on the Douglas incident remains mixed: Was he the innocent victim of police brutality or an opportunist looking to become the poster child of the OWS movement?

The first video to make the online rounds shows Douglas immediately after he claims he was hit by a police motorcycle scooter. While the initial portion of the video is very shaky (is it that hard to keep a camera still as you walk?), Douglas’s frantic screams are quite audible:

What we can see in the video is Douglas’s leg beneath the scooter’s front wheel, and then, a few seconds later, beneath its back wheel. What happened in between is up for debate. While some observers claim he was run over, other sources corroborate the NYPD position that he was faking it. A photographer for the New York Daily News stated the scooter “definitely hit” Douglas but did not run him over, further stating “I saw [Douglas] sticking his legs under the bike to make it appear he was run over.”

While the NYPD’s spokesman claims Douglas “was not trapped” and that he kicked the scooter, the majority of witnesses do agree the scooter did hit him. Another video shows the police scooter fast approaching the crowd moments before Douglas in on the ground:

OWS_PoliceScooter from The Local East Village on Vimeo.

Douglas was treated in an emergency room and charged with felony criminal mischief, obstructing judicial administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. We encourage all of those at these protests to stay safe and keep the peace.

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