It was inappropriate for protesters to surround a New York Police Department (NYPD) vehicle and threaten the officers, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Saturday.
The mayor’s comments came after video footage surfaced online that showed an NYPD police cruiser driving into a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn as they threw large pieces of debris and orange traffic cones at it.
“It’s inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers. That’s wrong on its face, and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Brooklyn.
Footage of the incident, posted by a Twitter user named Marco, showed a large group of protesters standing in front of the cruiser holding a yellow barricade as the police vehicle tried to move past:
— Marco (@chieffymac11) May 31, 2020
As the crowd began to surround the vehicle, which appeared to have a broken windshield, it moved forward and pushed the protesters out of the way before coming to a halt.
Aerial footage posted by another Twitter user named Pierre G. showed one individual in a red shirt violently jumping on top of the cruiser’s hood:
— Pierre G. (@pgarapon) May 31, 2020
“I’ve been watching protests for decades. People don’t do that. And so it’s clear that a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles,” de Blasio stated.
And if a police officer is in that situation, they have to get out of that situation. The video was upsetting, and I wish the officers hadn’t done that but I also understood that they didn’t start the situation.The situation was started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle. It’s unacceptable, so the officers have to get out of that situation. Where it’s happened in the last 48 hours, they have.
But what I want to see is that we get these violent protesters off the streets because the people of New York City, everyday people are not doing this. They just don’t do this to police officers, and they don’t do it to police vehicles. That’s just the fact. We’ve seen it time and time again, what real protest looks like in New York City does not look like this.
“I’m not going to blame officers who were trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation. The folks who were converging on that police car did the wrong thing to begin with, and they created an untenable situation,” the mayor explained.
“I wish the officers had found a different approach, but let’s begin at the beginning. The protesters in that video did the wrong thing to surround that police car, period,” he concluded.