“We saw tremendous restraint, overall, from the NYPD. There are always going to be some incidents we don’t like,” the mayor said
De Blasio said he also has seen things that need to be investigated, such as an NYPD vehicle driving into a crowd of protesters that were converging on it.
“I didn’t like what I saw one bit. I never want to see something like that. I don’t want to see anything like that again. We need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done, why it was done, how it could’ve been done differently,” the mayor said. “But I also want to emphasize that situation was created by a group of protesters blocking and surrounding a police vehicle, a tactic that we had seen before in the last few days, a tactic that can be very very dangerous to everyone involved. And we’ve seen direct attacks on police officers, including in their vehicles.”
Marco Conner DiAquoi, deputy director of the group Transportation Alternatives, also reacted to the video.
“It shows a callous disregard for fellow New Yorkers,” he told CBS2’s Dave Carlin. “These acts of the NYPD in wielding multi-ton vehicles against protesters undermines the effort to make our streets safer.”
The mayor suggested police vehicles moving through a crowd in such a shocking way could be sparked by officers needing to escape imminent threats of danger or even death.
“You would’ve had a really tough decision to make. You can’t stay there,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said the protests have been infiltrated by some outside agitators who are determined to cause violence.
“The X Factor here of a different kind. A small set of men, we’ll call them not just protesters, but people who came to do violence in a systematic organized fashion. That is a different reality we need to grapple with,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said the NYPD would quickly release evidence showing that some people were calling for violent demonstrations.
“We’re going to make all this information available today in the days ahead,” he said.
As for changes, the mayor called for Albany to make changes to a law regarding the disciplinary records of officers.
“We need to make sure that anybody who should not be a police officer is not a police officer,” the mayor added. He said that he would work with community organizations to find out which officers are perhaps not best suited for service in that community.
De Blasio said he has asked Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson and Commissioner of the Department of Investigation Margaret Garnett to look into what has happened during the protests and come back quickly with results of their inquiry.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said a small group “hijacked” a peaceful demonstration in Harlem and created a “long night” for members of the NYPD.
Shea said there are protests, “and there are mobs,” and protesters surrounding NYPD vehicles and attacking officers were a mob.
De Blasio said there were no plans to impose a curfew in New York City or bring in additional, outside forces to supplement the NYPD.
“I want to be clear, the NYPD knows how to keep the people of New York City safe,” de Blasio said.