AOC was actually arrested and not pretending to be handcuffed

Some people on social media claimed that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretended to be arrested because she wasn’t handcuffed. That is not true.

Dozens of people were arrested by US Capitol police on Tuesday, July 19, during a pro-choice protest outside the US Supreme Court.

That same day, photos in a viral tweet appeared to show police officers leading Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) away from the protest. Ocasio-Cortez had her hands behind her back but did not appear to be handcuffed, leading the poster to claim she was “pretending to be arrested.”

Other people on Twitter also claimed that the arrests of Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) were staged.


Have Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Other Congressmen Arrested in a Protest Against Abortion Rights?



This is true.

Yes, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other congressmen were arrested at an abortion rights protest.


The US Capitol Police confirmed in a press release that 35 people, including 17 congressmen, were arrested on July 19 for blocking traffic near the US Supreme Court.

“It’s against the law to block traffic, so officers gave protesters three standard warnings to get off the road,” the press release said. “When the protesters refused to leave the street, officers arrested them for crowding, obstructing or harassing them.”

The Center for Popular Democracy Action (CPD/A), an advocacy group, organized Tuesday’s protest against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed abortion rights in the United States.

RELATED: VERIFY Fact Sheet: Where Abortion Is Legal and Where It’s Not

In a press release, CPD/A announced the names of members of Congress who were arrested during the protest, including Congressmen Ocasio-Cortez and Omar.

  • Deputy Jackie Speier (CA-14)
  • MP Katherine Clark (MA-05)
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
  • Representative Sara Jacobs (CA-53)
  • Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13)
  • MP Madeleine Dean (PA-04)
  • Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01)
  • MP Rashida Talib (MI-13)
  • Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
  • MP Nydia Velázquez (NY-7)
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
  • Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-5)
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
  • MP Andy Levin (MI-11)
  • MP Ayanna Pressley (MA-7)
  • Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12)
  • Congressman Veronica Escobar (TX-16)

Capitol Police did not provide VERIFY with a list of those arrested.

A Twitter account operated by Ocasio-Cortez employees shared a 16-second video of their arrest At the protest, he wrote: “Today Rep. AOC was arrested in front of the Supreme Court along with other members of Congress for protesting in support of abortion rights.”

Omar also confirmed her arrest in a tweetwhich included a photo of her being led away from the protest with her hands behind her back.

“Today I was arrested in a civil disobedience action at the Supreme Court to protest the overthrow of Roe v Wade and the attack on reproductive rights across the country,” Omar said in a press release. “Our reproductive rights are under attack across the country thanks to an extremist court that has little regard for precedent or our fundamental rights. I will do whatever it takes, including putting my body at risk, to protect our reproductive rights.”

Why wasn’t Ocasio-Cortez handcuffed during her arrest?

Many of the claims on social media point to a staged arrest because Ocasio-Cortez was not handcuffed during her arrest.

VERIFY escalated the handcuff issue directly to the Capitol Police Department. A spokesman said people arrested on July 19 were “ticketed and released on the spot,” which is “standard for peaceful, planned protests.”

“No one was handcuffed, as is customary in a non-custodial arrest,” the spokesman wrote in an email.

A non-custodial arrest allows a person to leave the crime scene.

Those arrested at the abortion rights protest have up to 15 days to pay a $50 fine or be heard, according to the Capitol Police spokesman.

Ocasio-Cortez also addressed why she put her hands behind her back when she wasn’t handcuffed.

“Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice when incarcerated, whether handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges such as resisting arrest,” she wrote in a tweet.

RELATED: No, DUI charges against Paul Pelosi have not been dropped

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