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February 7, 1986
Advocate of Homeless Charged in Arrest Tiff

by Dennis Hevesi
George McDonald, the advocate for the homeless who lost a bid for City Council president last year, was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct Wednesday night after he protested how police at Grand Central Terminal were handling a homeless man during an arrest.

Metro-North Commuter Railroad officials said McDonald was verbally abusive to the officers. McDonald, who hands out sandwiches to the homeless each night, said, "When they hit the guy on the side of the head with a metal object, I said stop."

Tito Davila, a spokesman for Metro-North, said that at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police responded to a report of a man with a gun. Two men fitting the description were spotted in the waiting room, Davila said. "The two men were frisked. Nothing was found on them," he said. "But one of the men, Ishmel Gonzalez, 31, pushed one of the NYPD officers and knocked him on the floor. The officer sustained a back injury." Gonzalez was charged with second-degree assault.

"In the process of the man being arrested," Davila said, "Mr. McDonald came up to the officers and started shouting and was abusive to the officers."

McDonald said he saw police push Gonzalez and the other homeless man, Manny Rosario, out of the 42nd Street exit. "Gonzalez turned around and said, 'I'm leaving; you don't have to push me' ... He didn't assault anybody.

"At that point, one of the four plainclothes police hit Gonzalez in the side of the head with a silver metal object."

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