Tonight the NYPD chose Lady Gaga and a Christmas tree over democracy

Welcome to America. Now show us your ticket or get lost.

That’s what officers of the New York Police Department told hundreds of people tonight as they cordoned off a massive area in Midtown Manhattan, trapping protesters, tourists, workers, residents, and others between barricades that stretched out of sight along 6th Avenue and across two long blocks to Madison Avenue. It was a confluence of two discordant events: NBC’s lavish celebration of Christmas spirit, and the mourning of yet another unarmed black man viciously killed by police.

I was in the crowd created by the NYPD and found myself stuck in close quarters with no escape for at least half an hour near Radio City Music Hall, as tourists and protesters jostled to find out what…

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