Ocasio-Cortez Was Arrested at Abortion-Rights Protest, Contrary to Social Media Posts

23.07.2022, 1:15, Разное
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Quick Take

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of 17 members of Congress arrested at an abortion-rights protest on July 19. But social media posts falsely claim she was “pretending to be arrested.” Capitol Police records show the arrests did occur, and the congresswoman posted the arrest paperwork on her Instagram account.

Full Story

A group of abortion-rights demonstrators assembled in front of the Supreme Court building on July 19 to protest the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. 

At 1:18 p.m., the Capitol Police tweeted that the protesters had begun blocking First Street. Under Washington, D.C.’s criminal code, it is illegal to obstruct the use of any street and to continue or resume the interference “after being instructed by a law enforcement officer to cease.” 

By 1:20 p.m., the police tweeted that they had given protesters three warnings and would begin making arrests. The police then arrested 35 people, including 17 members of Congress, “for crowding, obstructing or incommoding.”

Following the arrests, various Facebook posts falsely claimed that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York pretended to be arrested.

One post showed multiple pictures of Ocasio-Cortez being held by a Capitol Police officer, and it read: “AOC pretending to be arrested and handcuffed is the most AOC moment of her career.”

A Facebook meme showed a photo of the representative’s face and the words: “LITTLE MISS FAKE GETTING ARRESTED.” The caption read, “Little Miss PR stunt.” Other posts also falsely claimed the congresswoman faked her arrest.

But Ocasio-Cortez was indeed one of those arrested.

The Capitol Police’s weekly Arrest Summary Report states, “Thirty-five Suspects were placed under arrest and processed on scene” on July 19. The report does not list the names of those arrested. We contacted the Capitol Police to ask whether Ocasio-Cortez was among the 35 arrested but haven’t received a response.

However, PolitiFact documented an Instagram story from Ocasio-Cortez’s personal account that showed her arrest paperwork and a $50 fine. We also reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for comment but didn’t hear back. 

Some of the social media posts appeared to misunderstand what it means to be arrested. As they were led away from the Supreme Court, Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota both walked with their hands behind their backs. Some posts took this to mean the two representatives were pretending to be in handcuffs.

One of the responses to the Capitol Police tweet about the 35 arrests said, “So, they were handcuffed and placed into custody until their hearing, unless the[y] placed bail? If not, you didn’t arrest them, and lying about something like this is absolutely hillarious.” Another person told the Capitol Police, “Prove it. Where’s the mugshots of the arrested?”

Being handcuffed, having mugshots taken and receiving a hearing are not necessary to be arrested. An arrest is defined as “the use of legal authority to deprive a person of their freedom of movement.” PolitiFact and Snopes both reported that Capitol Police said the protesters weren’t handcuffed because these arrests were “noncustodial,” meaning no one was taken into custody. 

On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez explained why she walked with her arms crossed behind her back. She tweeted, “Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest.”

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