NY fur vendors charged with tossing bleach on protesters

Video Captures Fur Protesters Being Doused with Bleach by Rooftop Fur Vendors
Video Captures Fur Protesters Being Doused with Bleach by Rooftop Fur Vendors

(Reuters) - Three New York City fur vendors have been charged with throwing a mixture of bleach and ammonia from the roof of a Manhattan building onto anti-fur protesters and pedestrians on the street below, authorities said on Monday.

The incident occurred on a crowded street in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood during the late afternoon of Dec. 20, when at least four people and a baby stroller were hit by the chemical mixture in an area crowded with holiday shoppers, police said. There were no reports of injuries.

According to a criminal complaint, a New York police officer saw liquid raining down from a six-story building onto a sidewalk filled with about a dozen anti-fur protesters and passersby near where fur coats were being sold.

The officer entered the building and encountered two men in the stairwell holding bags that smelled of bleach, the complaint said. On the roof of the building, police found empty bottles of bleach and ammonia, the complaint added.

David Haber, 53, Luis Justino, 40, and Lawrence Andrews, 35 were arrested shortly after the bottles were discovered and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment, authorities said.

A YouTube video shot by the anti-fur protesters showed liquid dousing people on the sidewalk. The group said in the video the fur vendors were seeking to blame them for the attack.

Justino's lawyer told the New York Times his client was innocent. Attorneys for the other two men could not be reached for comment. The three are out on bail, records show.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)

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