NYC police violence videos go viral, as Cuomo & de Blasio defend NYPD
CONTENT WARNING: This post contains videos and images of police brutality.
Since Tuesday (6/2), NYC has had a week-long 8 PM curfew (following an 11 PM curfew on Monday). The first night of the early curfew, NYPD trapped peaceful protesters on the Manhattan Bridge for approximately three hours due to the protesters being out past 8 PM.
On Wednesday (6/3) night, more violence by NYPD against unarmed citizens was reported and captured on video. One video that has been making the rounds was filmed by long-running producer/DJ Tommie Sunshine and posted by film director Josh Fox, and it shows drivers stuck in traffic as police beat up a cyclist with batons in a crosswalk. The footage has gone more viral since it was retweeted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who writes, "Horrifying. You start with the tiny possibility that two officers may be walking over to deescalate the abusive one. Instead, they join in beating a man trying to get out of traffic. This isn’t a problem of bad apples or incidents. This is an institutional and systemic crisis."
Also making the rounds is a New York Times interactive story by reporter Ali Watkins with videos, photos, and a report documenting an incident at Cadman Plaza of police brutality that was reportedly provoked by nothing more than an empty water bottle being thrown. Watkins' reporting reads:
I want to be clear here: I saw a single, apparently empty water bottle get tossed from the protest line toward cops. I did not see where it landed or how full it was.
From my vantage point, I saw no other provocation.
A supervisor readied officers to charge.
Batons started coming out. Two people near me were hit, and two nurses and a medic — clearly identified — brought them near a building to render aid.
When asked about the heightened amount of police enforcement in the city, NYPD chief of department Terence Monahan told the NY Times, "They have to be off the street. An 8 o'clock curfew — we gave them to 9 o'clock." Read the rest of Watkins' story and see the accompanying photos and videos of her report here.
She also said on Twitter that the two clearly identified nurses she witnessed were "trying to work the baton vics with med kits. One protestor looked like she was passing out, and anothers’ hands were shaking as he reached for the back of his head, and his hand came back blood soaked. An ambulance was called. Then the cops charged again."
"Everyone was yelling that people were hurt, they needed help, they were wrapping this guy’s head in a bandage," she continued. "Cops screamed to at them to move, pushing a bunch of people. I saw the guy with the bleeding head get shoved to the ground, and cops start swinging batons. Everyone ran."
These photos and video were posted as well:
At an Albany press conference, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "Police bludgeon peaceful protesters with batons for no reason? That’s not a fact. They don’t do that. Anyone who did do that would be obviously reprehensible if not criminal." This video went viral in response:
More recently, Cuomo tweeted, "Peaceful protest is a sacred American right. No peaceful protestor deserves to be hit with a baton and no self-respecting police officer would defend that. I've asked [New York Attorney General Letitia James] to investigate last night's incidents as part of her ongoing investigation."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview with Politico, "The NYPD takes a very different approach [than other police forces] — uses as light a touch as possible. Tries to defuse. Not perfectly, we understand that, but it is the approach of the NYPD consistently." De Blasio also said that he had not seen the videos of NYPD assaulting citizens, to which NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer replied on Twitter, "The penalty for protesting after curfew is not to be beaten senseless by the police. That @NYCMayor has not seen these videos is not just ignorance, it’s a total disgrace."
According to ABC7 New York, 180 arrests were made citywide on Wednesday.
Other horrifying reports and videos of police violence in NYC have been making the rounds on social media as well:
Wednesday night's news follows last weekend's news of NYPD driving SUVs into crowd of protesters near Barclays Center.
For ways to help fight racism and police brutality, we put together a list of resources.