NYPD drive SUVs into crowd of protesters near Barclays Center, horrifying videos show
After video surfaced of now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocating George Floyd, who died shortly afterwards (Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter), protests took place nationwide, including right here in New York City (where over 200 protesters were arrested). Some police officers joined in on protesting, but sadly many others reacted violently. On Saturday (5/30) in Brooklyn, right near Barclays Center, two NYPD cruisers rammed into a crowd of protesters, sending people flying. Videos captured the incident and have been making the rounds on social media. Insider described the disturbing incident in detail:
The disturbing videos showed a crowd of protesters surrounding an NYPD cruiser and propping up a barrier in front of it, while throwing what appeared to be water bottles, garbage, and pylons at the car.
A second police cruiser can then be seen driving up along the first car. Suddenly, both cars begin slowly driving into the crowd, before abruptly speeding up and sending protesters scattering. The first cruiser then suddenly rams down the barricade, while the people behind it go flying. Screams could be heard over top of the police sirens.
The incident allegedly took place at the intersection of Flatbush Ave. and St. Mark's St. just three blocks southeast of the Barclay's Center, where last night's Brooklyn protests were centered.
It was unclear whether any of the protesters were injured.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on the videos.
In an interview with NY1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "It is a troubling video, and I wish the officers hadn't done that, but they were being surrounded by people who were attacking that vehicle and they were in a situation where it was getting more and more dangerous, and they had to get out of there. 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."
Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called de Blasio's comments "unacceptable" and demanded the officers be brought to justice. "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.'" she tweeted. "We need rapid, real de-escalation and we need it right now. We cannot descend into the chaos of violence. Please everyone, stay safe," she added.
AOC also later tweeted directly at de Blasio, "@NYCMayor your comments tonight were unacceptable. As mayor, this police department is under your leadership. This moment demands leadership & accountability from each of us. Defending and making excuses for NYPD running SUVs into crowds was wrong. Make it right. De-escalate. Running SUVs in crowds of people should never, ever be normalized. No matter who does it, no matter why."
NY State Senator Julia Salazar tweeted, "Absolutely shameful statement from our Mayor. There is NO excuse that can justify intentionally accelerating a police vehicle through a group of pedestrians. None. This is just ONE sample of the violence we’ve seen from officers. The NYPD needs to be held responsible for it."
If you haven't seen the very disturbing footage, you can watch here:
If you'd like to help Brooklyn protesters who were arrested this weekend, you can donate to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. The Minnesota Freedom Fund is also working to help those arrested at demonstrations in Minnesota. There's also a Google doc making the rounds with several other local bail funds.
Beyonce also posted an impassioned video on Instagram saying "We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We're broken and we're disgusted. We cannot normalize this behavior. No more senseless killings of human beings, no more seeing people of color as less than human. We can no longer look away." She also posted a petition on her website to demand justice for George Floyd.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z reportedly called Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to stress that justice for George Floyd needs to be served.
Chicago rapper CupcakKe is also donating half the proceeds from her new single "Lemon Pepper" to the Minneapolis Freedom Fund.
Dr. Dre, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Ben Schwartz, Harry Styles, Kehlani, Lil Nas X, Noname, Kali Uchis, Janelle Monae, Abbi Jacobson, Nick Kroll, Patton Oswalt, Thundercat, Smino, Amine, Tierra Whack, Rico Nasty, 6LACK, J.I.D, and several others have also raised awareness and/or donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and other similar causes, and are encouraging other celebrities to match their donations.
And in more scary news, Halsey says that she was hit with a rubber bullet while protesting in Los Angeles. "This hit me through layers of fabric and for that, I am extremely privileged. at close range it would have caused serious injury," she wrote.