A woman and her child take part in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Foley Square in New York City
A woman and her child take part in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Foley Square in New York City, October 5, 2011. Reuters

A video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday shows New York City police officers beating up a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters Wednesday night.

It begins with one police officer telling another, earlier in the day, My little nightstick is going to get a workout tonight -- presumably referring to his baton -- and both officers laughing. Then it cuts to footage of several police officers standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters, who are penned in by metal barriers, and hitting a number of the protesters with their batons.

The NYPD press office did not immediately respond to the International Business Times' request for comment Thursday morning.

The Occupy Wall Street protests have been going on for almost three weeks now, and the police response has been mixed.

For the most part, the police have not tried to confront the protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, but they have made hundreds of arrests when protesters left the park to demonstrate elsewhere. A number of protesters were pepper-sprayed on a march from the Financial District toward Union Square late last month, and last Saturday, the police arrested hundreds of people for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The biggest outcry has come from the use of physical force on several occasions. In particular, NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna has come under fire for two videos in which he is seen pepper-spraying protesters with no apparent provocation.

Paul Browne, the chief spokesman for the NYPD, has defended the use of pepper spray against the Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying it has been used sparingly.

NYPD officers are authorized to use pepper spray if they reasonably believe it is necessary to effect an arrest of a resisting suspect, according to the department's patrol guide. They are not, however, authorized to do so in situations that do not require the use of physical force.

Every time force has been used against the Occupy Wall Street protesters, it has sparked vocal backlash. On another YouTube video of the beatings Wednesday night, the poster wrote in capital letters, This is what a police state looks like.