Bill de Blasio defended the officers. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned them.
5 min read
A video has emerged of two police SUVs plowing into a group of protesters in New York City after being peppered with debris from the crowd of people.
The incident occurred on the evening of May 30 as demonstrations were taking place across the city in reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers early last week.
The video, which was filmed near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and St. Marks Avenue just a few blocks away from Prospect Park in Brooklyn, shows a New York Police Department SUV being blocked by a group of protesters behind a barricade as various items and objects can be seen striking the vehicle.
Another NYPD police SUV then pulls up alongside the first vehicle before both of them can be seen accelerating into the crowd of people knocking many of them over as the screaming and yelling from the crowd begins to intensify.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the incident at a late night press conference and said that the officers did what they needed to do to get out of that situation.
“It is inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threatened police officers. That is wrong on its face. That has not happened in the history of protests in this city. I have been watching protests for decades, people don’t do that. It is clear that a different element has come into play here,” said de Blasio.
“They are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles,” de Blasio continued. “And if the police officers are in that situation they have to get out of that situation. I wish the officers had not done that, but I also understood they did not start the situation, the situation was started by protesters converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle. It is unacceptable … Protests in New York City do not look like this.”
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was furious and tweeted that nobody gets to slam a car into a group of people and that the officers involved should be held accountable.
“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,” the congresswoman wrote on Twitter.
Ocasio-Cortez also condemned de Blasio’s comments.
“As mayor, this police department is under your leadership,” she tweeted. 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.
In another tweet she said, “running SUVs in crowds of people should never, ever be normalized. No matter who does it, no matter why.”
Said de Blasio: “It is a very tense situation. Imagine what it would be like, you are job and you see hundreds of will converging upon you. I’m not going to blame officers who are trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation. The folks converging on that police car did the wrong thing and created an untenable situation. I wish the officers would have found a different approach but the protesters in that video did the wrong thing to surround that police car, period.”
It is unclear if any of the people who were struck by the NYPD SUVs suffered any serious injuries.
The police officers involved in the incident have not yet been identified.