MANHATTAN – Police charged a woman, 23, with felony assault after she pushed a man, 74, to the ground during the second night of anti-Trump protests near Trump Tower, authorities said. But she claims the victim provoked her after following her and spewing racial slurs.
A verbal altercation between the victim and the suspect, identified as Shacara McLaurin, erupted at 55th Street and Fifth Avenue around 10 p.m. Thursday, when she shoved him, causing him to suffer a cut to the head and a trip to the hospital, according to the NYPD. She was then charged with a felony due to the victim's age.
Leading up to push, witnesses said the victim allegedly told her "All Lives Matter" as McLaurin countered with "Black Lives Matter," according to police.
Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, saw her being placed in a squad car and issued a statement Friday morning elaborating on the encounter with McLaurin -- a lead singer in the Harlem Gospel Choir who was performing at the Plaza Hotel nearby prior to the incident.
She and a friend walked past the protest in front of the Trump Tower several blocks away. A Trump supporter began verbally assaulting the women assuming that they attended the protest. He followed the women for two blocks hurling insults at them and even used the terms "Black Beasts" and ignorant [sic]. Instead of assisting the women they were placed under arrest by the NYPD.
Black Lives Matter along with McLaurin's family will hold a press conference later at 9 a.m. Friday.
As of early Friday, this was the lone arrest connected with protests against president-elect Donald Trump in New York City. On Thursday, 65 people were arrested but mostly charged with disorderly conduct, police said.
Thousands have been gathering in cities from New York City to Dallas to San Francisco to voice opposition to Trump's election with chants like "not our president" and "we reject our president-elect."
Early Friday, an impressed Trump complimented the demonstrators on their "passion."
He also addressed the "professional protesters" Thursday night, calling them "very unfair." Earlier in the day, he met with President Obama at the White House where they discussed the presidency transition.
An earlier version of this story stated the suspect punched the victim. The NYPD clarified, saying she pushed him.