Seth Wenig/AP Photo
A New York City police officer pointed his gun at peaceful protesters in Manhattan Sunday night.
After a video of the incident trended on Twitter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officer’s actions were “unacceptable” and he should “have his gun and badge taken away.”
On Saturday, de Blasio was widely criticized for defending police officers who drove into a protesting crowd, before backtracking on his comments Sunday.
Late on Sunday evening, a police officer in New York City pulled his gun out of his holster and pointed it at peaceful protesters near Manhattan’s Union Square, moving swiftly toward them as they shrieked in alarm and moved away.
Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the officer’s actions, which were caught on video. He described the video as “absolutely unacceptable.”
“That officer should have his gun and badge taken away today,” de Blasio said.
—Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) June 1, 2020
De Blasio said there would be an immediate investigation “to determine the larger consequence.”
“We have to always know it is not the place of an officer to pull a gun in the middle of a crowd, know ing that there are peaceful protesters in that crowd,” he said. “That is unacceptable; that is dangerous.”
Police department spokesperson Sergeant Mary Frances O’Donnell declined to comment, saying “the matter is under internal review.”
The mayor has been widely criticized for his approach to police violence over the weekend, some of which has trended on social media. On Saturday, footage showed two NYPD vehicles driving into a crowd of protesters.
De Blasio initially defended the officers.
“It is inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” he said. “That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city.”
According to the video footage, the vehicles were not surrounded. There were no protesters behind one of the vehicles and few behind the other.
—PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) May 31, 2020
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned de Blasio’s comments.
“Your comments tonight were unacceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez said on social media. “Defending and making excuses for NYPD running SUVs into crowds was wrong. Make it right. De-escalate.”
The next day, he struck a different tone.
“There is no situation where a police vehicle should drive into a crowd of protesters or New Yorkers of any kind. It is dangerous, it is unacceptable,” de Blasio said during a Sunday press conference. “This was an extremely aberrant situation.”
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