Two more elected officials were arrested at the latest protest in support of keeping Long Island College Hospital (LICH) open.
This morning, Congressmember Nydia Velázquez and District Leader Jo Anne Simon were placed in plastic handcuffs for blocking traffic along Atlantic Avenue at Hicks Street during another #saveLICH protest. Both representatives, along with Velázquez’s community coordinator Dan Wiley, and five other protestors, were taken to the 76th Precinct stationhouse. The eight were later released shortly before 2 p.m., to the cheers of a “welcoming committee” of dozens of LICH and Brooklyn hospital supporters.
Following her arrest, Velázquez released a statement stating that her arrest was simply a way to highlight her point that “access to quality health care can be a life or death issue [and] it is irresponsible to block patients from visiting this facility in an attempt to shutter LICH.”
“LICH stayed open during Hurricane Sandy, when other health care facilities closed due to flooding,” Velázquez added. “We’re already seeing how our medical system is strained when LICH does not accept new patients. Imagine how much worse the situation could be during the next storm or other catastrophe.
“Despite three legal restraining orders to prevent LICH’s closure, SUNY has been actively working to shut down this important local healthcare center. . . Governor Cuomo must work with all stakeholders – including the community – to develop a plan that keeps LICH operational,” she said.
The two join a growing list of officials arrested for LICH, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander, and Assemblymember Joan Millman.