In a new video in VICE’s “I Was There” series, Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson talks about filming the Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988.
Years before everyone had cell-phone cameras, Patterson was one of the first to embrace the use of the then-still-new handheld video camera as a documentary tool.
Back in the late 1980s, protesters — including East Village squatters — were clashing with police over the imposition of a curfew on Tompkins Square Park, which had never had one. Another flashpoint a bit later on would be the homeless “Tent City” in the park.
Patterson’s videotape from that night of Aug. 6, 1988, resulted in the indictment of six police officers.
VICE has given The Village Sun permission to post the video, which is compiled from Patterson’s extensive archives.