Today’s banner headlines are quick to trumpet politicians’ arrests for malfeasance, but City Council members are more frequently quietly cuffed for old-fashioned civil disobedience. City legislators seem to be prime suspects when it comes to union rallies, protests against unfair wages or labor practices, and other advocacy work. Here’s a look at who has been arrested for civil disobedience:


Melissa Mark-Viverito
Occupy Wall Street protest, November 2011

 

Jimmy Van Bramer
Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and many of his colleagues were arrested while joining LaGuardia Airport workers and their counterparts across the country in marching on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2014 to demand higher wages. Van Bramer applauded Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union for working to organize and bolster wages for those who handle baggage, those who escort wheelchair users and other workers. 32BJ recently announced it and the airport contractor have agreed to a process for permitting personnel to vote on its union representation. “Civil disobedience has a very long history in this country, and no one did it more powerfully than Martin Luther King Jr.,” Van Bramer said, noting politicians’ arrests generate media attention and show employers that elected officials are serious about supporting a movement. “There is a minor inconvenience – you’re arrested and detained for a few hours. But it is nothing compared to the workers who are being taken advantage of and who are desperately trying to earn a living wage. … That demonstration helped put on pressure and inspire the workers to keep going.”


Daniel Dromm
Immigration reform rally, June 2010

 


Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
Arizona immigration law protest and three-day fast, June 2010

 


I. Daneek Miller
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014

Stephen Levin
Councilman Stephen Levin was arrested at a July 2013 protest against the closure of the University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital along with several nurses and then-mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who has since characterized the incident as “the most choreographed thing on earth.”
“What I remember most,” Levin said, “is how especially gracious my cellmate, Mayor de Blasio, was to our NYPD personnel at Midtown South and how reassuring he was to our co-arrestees. They were very nervous about being arrested!"


Ruben Wills
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014


Laurie Cumbo
Rent control law protest, June 2015

 

Brad Lander
Protesting the closure of Long Island College Hospital, July 2013; protesting with car wash workers seeking to unionize and claiming they were facing unfair compensation and labor practices, March 2015; immigration reform rally, June 2010

Carlos Menchaca
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014; protesting with car wash workers seeking to unionize and claiming they were facing unfair compensation and labor practices, March 2015

Antonio Reynoso
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014; protest of the city’s inaction in preventing north Brooklyn day care center closures, August 2015

Jumaane Williams
Rent control law protest, June 2015; Occupy Wall Street protest, November 2011; Arizona immigration law protest, May 2010; protest over planned school closures, January 2011.


Inez Dickens
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014


Corey Johnson
Rent control law protest, June 2015; protesting Spectra natural gas pipeline November 2013

Ydanis Rodriguez
While NYPD cleared out Zuccotti Park amid Occupy Wall Street protests, January 2014; LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014; Arizona immigration law protest, May 2010

Fernando Cabrera
Councilman Fernando Cabrera was arrested in January 2012 while participating in a prayer gathering in support of the Right to Worship movement, which argues religious groups should be permitted to rent public spaces for worship.
Cabrera’s press person said he was “definitely surprised” he was arrested because “he did not consider joining the other pastors in prayer as an outright act of civil disobedience.”


Mark Levine
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014


Annabel Palma
Rally for security guards at Empire State Building who contended they were not receiving fair wages, 2006


Ritchie Torres
LaGuardia Airport worker rally for wage increases, January 2014

 

Note: City & State contacted every member of the City Council to ask whether they have been arrested for civil disobedience. Every other council member said they have not been arrested, except for Darlene Mealy, who did not respond to repeated inquiries.