Bill de Blasio was escorted out a State University of New York school today, hands bound in a zip tie handcuff after the mayoral candidate and public advocate joined healthcare workers to protest talks of closing Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital.
De Blasio was among a handful of arrests at the protest, organized by healthcare union SEIU 1199, which endorsed de Blasio's mayoral campaign in mid-May.
Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin — whose district includes LICH — was also arrested by the New York Police Department, as were a handful of protesters.
Getting arrested > losing LICH and the vital healthcare it provides Brooklyn communities pic.twitter.com/jIHSKAtiKz— Stephen Levin (@StephenLevin33) July 10, 2013
"Today, nurses, doctors, community members, and elected officials stand together against the blatant attempt by SUNY Downstate to shutdown Long Island College Hospital," Levin's office said in a statement earlier today. "Their actions fly in the face of the law and are literally risking the lives of Brooklyn residents. By getting arrested, we are sending a message that we will not tolerate SUNY’s disturbing disregard of the court's orders."
Reporters on the scene also tweeted that former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Comptroller John Liu — also in the race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg — were on the scene, albeit safe from arrest.
The protest is the latest in a series of events organized by local leaders and unions in advance of the debt-ridden hospital's potential closure.
SUNY partially staved off a shutdown in late April after it withdrew its earlier plan to close the Cobble Hill location. "Don’t let this happen on your watch," de Blasio said at another protest in Brooklyn on Sunday as he called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene. "Don’t let us lose more hospitals."