HIV+ Wall Street protester comes forward after police punch him in face

Posted by JD Uy
October 18, 2011 10:35 PM |

''The cop just lunged at me full throttle and hit me on the left side of my face. It tore my earring out. I remember seeing my earring on the ground next to me and it was full of blood... I'm HIV positive and that cop should get tested.''

Felix Rivera-Pitre, described by Gothamist.com as a activist member of Vocal New York, an organization that in part empowers "low-income people who are living with HIV/AIDS."

Several videos online show different angles of Rivera-Pitre being punched in the face by an NYPD officer during an Occupy Wall Street march. One video shows him being told by an officer to get out of the street. Rivera-Pitre is shown looking back at the officer, then he continued walking. Other videos then showed him being punched by the officer. Rivera-Pitre tells The Street that he was freed from the police's grip by the crowd.

''I was walking away from him. I was not walking toward him.... They were asking everyone to get out of the street. There were thousands of people, literally. The street was packed from sidewalk to sidewalk.... The fact that he singled me out of the whole crowd -- don't know why.... I hit the ground.... The cops were pulling my legs, the crowd was pulling my arms. Somehow they managed to free me off. I was carried outside of the crowd.''

The Village Voice says Rivera-Pitre, "who is openly HIV-positive, is currently in hiding to avoid arrest, and believes that he may have been targeted because he is gay."

Video of the incident has gotten a lot of attention in the mainstream media since it occurred last last week in New York City.


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