As he bankrolls toward the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Mike Bloomberg has yet to apologize to the innocent bystanders who were swept up in the mass arrest at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York and held in intolerable conditions for as long as 50 hours.
Bloomberg was in his first term as mayor after an election in which his initial chances seemed as slim as they initially were in his current presidential run. The innocents in 2004 included a playwright who was on her way from a bookstore to buy a Frosty at Wendy’s, an astrophysicist-turned-rising-star in the financial world, a 15-year-old diabetic high school student on her way to the movies, and a Canadian university professor who authored a highly regarded book on the Lincoln Memorial.
The hapless bystanders were scooped up along with large numbers of protesters, some of whom had announced plans to shut down a city that was still jumpy from the 9/11 attacks three years earlier. All were handcuffed with plastic ties for extended periods and confined in chain link cages on a pier known to be contaminated with asbestos and toxic chemicals from its prior use as a bus depot. Prisoners were denied phone calls and, in a number of instances, medical care. The floor was coated with a mix of diesel soot and oil waste that triggered skin rashes on those who lay down.