Brooklyn Boro

CUNY professor charged in Brooklyn protest melee

December 15, 2014 Associated Press and Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Demonstrators march over the inbound lane of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York on Saturday during the Justice for All rally and march. AP Photo/John Minchillo
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A judge has suggested that an award-winning poet from Brooklyn who works as a professor at Baruch College may have been the victim of circumstance as he participated in a march over the Brooklyn Bridge at which some unruly acts were committed.

At Saturday’s protest over recent police-involved deaths, a backpack was found that police traced to the home of Eric Linsker, 29, who was arrested early Sunday and charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest in connection with two officers.

Tens of thousands of people participated in the march on Saturday, which was largely peaceful.

Linsker appeared in court Sunday night and was released on his own recognizance.

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A statement from Baruch College confirmed Linsker is an adjunct professor there. Linsker grew up in Westchester, N.Y., and holds degrees from Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He won the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2013 for his book, “La Far.” 

Police allege that Linsker tried to throw a garbage can at officers below him on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Police say that as they attempted to take him into custody, other demonstrators intervened. Two lieutenants were treated for bumps, bruises and a broken nose, and Linsker was not arrested at the time. 

 Police later recovered a backpack, which they say belonged to Linsker and contained three hammers and a black face mask. The New York Daily News reports that Linsker was arrested at his home in Crown Heights on Sunday, according to a police spokesman.  

According to the New York Timesthe assistant district attorney requested that Linsker’s bail be set at $25,000, but Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Abraham Clott denied the request and stated, “How is he responsible for what other people were doing?” The assistant district attorney said that Linsker “acted in concert” with the protester who struck the officer, according to the Times    

Linsker’s lawyer, Martin Stolar, called the case weak. According to the Daily News, Stolar said, “At worst, Eric picked up a garbage can, was told by police to put it down, and did.”  

The New York Post reports that Linsker’s roommate and childhood friend, Chris Balmer, said that Linsker’s recent poetry “has become more political. Police brutality has been a big topic he’s written about recently.” According to the Post, Balmer said that Linsker is “not a violent person but he has very strong beliefs that there are problems with our current system and police, and he wants to do something about it.”

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