Late Saturday, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson offered MSNBC viewers his perspective of the unrest on display around the country and in New York City, underway in the name of George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Johnson criticized his city’s police force, arguing their presence, which he likened to the invasion of Normandy in World War II, made people feel unsafe.
“It’s a very tough night in New York City tonight,” he said. “And I think what you’re seeing is really a manifestation of a tremendous amount of pain. And we know this pain was not manifested overnight. You saw the murder in broad daylight of George Floyd in Minneapolis a few days ago. You’ve seen the vast majority of people who have died from COVID-19 across this country, being black and brown Americans and New Yorkers. You had a woman in Central Park less than a week ago trying to call the cops on a peaceful African-American who was bird watching, trying to weaponize his race against him.”
“There’s structural racism in America, in New York City, and you’re seeing this anger and pain come out tonight,” Johnson continued. “Now, no one is condoning violence in New York City. And the vast majority of people have been peaceful. But I think it’s really important to acknowledge here that in the midst of all of this pain, it is really important to deescalate. And when you have a situation, last night at the Barclays Center where the vast majority of protesters were peaceful but the NYPD were assembled there like it was going to be the invasion of Normandy. It does not set up an atmosphere where people feel like it is safe. What I think what you’re seeing across America and in New York City, you’re seeing a manifestation of this.”
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