Two NYPD SUVs drove right into a crowd of people protesting George Floyd's death at the hands of police in late May, a horrific incident, captured on video, that Mayor de Blasio downplayed at the time, saying, "If those protesters had just gotten out of the way and not created an attempt to surround that vehicle, we would not be talking about this situation." Now NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has defended the police driving the cruisers.

Speaking in an online public hearing on Monday (6/22), NY Attorney General Letitia James asked Shea, "Was that in violation of your use of force policy?"

“No," Shea answered. "Our internal affairs bureau investigated this information and preliminarily we have an accounting of that incident where we have officers in a situation where they’re essentially being penned in by protesters."

"So in that particular instance," James asked, "is it your testimony that ... the police car was an appropriate use of force?"

"I’m not saying that the police car was used as a use of force," Shea said. "The officers were set upon and attacked, and thankfully they were able to get out of that situation with, to my knowledge, no injuries to anyone."

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the NYPD over the incident, tweeting, "NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings. They could‘ve killed them, &we don’t know how many they injured. NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings. @NYCMayor these officers need to be brought to justice, not dismissed w/ 'internal reviews.'"

The Daily News posted an opinion piece titled "The truth about those NYPD SUVs: We were in the crowd when it happened" earlier this month. It reads:

The mayor misrepresented what we experienced. As we marched non-violently down the street, the police drove up to us in an apparent attempt to force us off the road. No one was blocking their SUVs from behind. The police created the situation and if they truly wanted to leave without hitting anyone, they could have backed away. Instead, they escalated the confrontation by driving forward, using their vehicles like weapons with blatant disregard for protesters’ safety. The mayor claimed we attempted to “do violence to police officers,” but if lobbing a water bottle at a windshield is regarded as worse than deliberately hitting a group of people with an SUV, we have lost all sense of what violence really is.

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