New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing backlash after he suggested the New York Police Department "acted appropriately" in their response to this weekend's protests. As demonstrations broke out nationwide, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of New York City in response to the killing of George Floyd, with a video showing an NYPD SUV driving into protesters who had placed a barricade in front of the vehicle, some seen throwing items at the car.
Speaking during a news conference Saturday, de Blasio called the video "upsetting," though he defended the officer's actions, stating that "it is inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers," according to NBC News. He added that it was "clear that a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles." He went on to state that he understood the officers "didn't start the situation," instead suggesting that it was "started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle."
The mayor again defended the NYPD's actions on Sunday. Although he said that he didn't "like what I saw one bit" and did not "want to ever see it again," calling for a "full impartial investigation" into what had been done and how it could have been done differently, de Blasio praised officers for showing "restraint." He stated that the "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." He added that the incident "was happening against the backdrop where police officers had been attacked before in the exact same situation, and that was a situation that had to be resolved and could not stay that way."
His response to the incident was largely met with upset social media users. Responding, many suggested that the officer involved used an excessive amount of force and slammed de Blasio for defending that. Keep scrolling to see what people had to say.
Disappointed with your statement this morning @NYCMayor NYPD is here to protect and serve NOT to ram through a crowd of protestors with their vehicles. That is wrong. They are not above justice and need to be held accountable.— C:\hristina 👩🏽💻 (@divinetechygirl) May 31, 2020
De Blasio’s handling of all of this is a reminder that neither major party has a monopoly on perpetuating police brutality. It’s not a Democratic or Republican problem. It’s an American problem. https://t.co/gb8JbSncab— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) May 31, 2020
DeBlasio had an opportunity to be on the right side of history. Instead he chose to align himself with the brutality and injustice. He chooses to further empower the militias with badges and guns who ram SUVs into crowds of civilians. Through his actions, he stands with Trump.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) May 31, 2020
Dude. If you’re driving down the street and someone happens to be in the road, they AUTOMATICALLY get the right of way because they are a civilian on foot. You have to stop. Those cops are not above that. In fact, they have an INCREDIBLY greater responsibility to follow that law.— MichaelDelahoussaye! (@MiiiiikeD) May 31, 2020
The baffling part of this is Mayor de Blasio—with a Black wife & kids!—is defending the NYPD whose cops & unions hate his guts & publicly spit on his entire legacy.May 31, 2020
De Blasio is totally wrong on this one.— Frank Black (@Nabob_Axelrod) May 31, 2020
#NYC Mayor #DeBlasio needs to RESIGN over these comments. Those cops need to be suspended immediately, pending an investigation, fired if (when) it is found the endangered the public through wreckless dereliction of duty. Or just fired.— Paulitical Eye (@PauliticalEye) May 31, 2020
just to be perfectly clear, Bill de Blasio is defending his police force for using the same tactic that white supremacists used to kill Heather Heyer— Lee Sova Claypool (@LeeSovaClaypool) May 31, 2020
Blocking and surrounding sound like trained police tactics. Taking out anger on individuals sounds like police behaviour. A lot of restraint sounds like what a lot of civilians are showing in the moments before they are killed and brutalized.— 360º (@doeboy360_) May 31, 2020
If your idea of "restraint" is running over a bunch of protesters, you have no business being mayor of New York. Civilians who did that would be charged with attempted murder. Police officers should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.— Dr. Matthew Boxer (@matthewboxer) May 31, 2020
Cars can go in reverse! Does he know?? Bc there’s nobody behind them and plowing into people was nowhere near the only option— Cam (@hoesfortheamish) May 31, 2020
@BilldeBlasio Hold the officers accountable for their disgusting actions. Don’t praise them. You are a joke of a Mayor.— Bruce (@fuckbruce) May 31, 2020
He is a part of the problem the reason for these protests are to HOLD police accountable for these types of actions and here he is saying they were justified smh VOTE HIM OUT— mrs jess mariano ♛🇵🇪 (@lostindelena) May 31, 2020
Blaming protestors for officers pressing the gas pedal & RUNNING OVER HUMANS will never be okay— Ashley Mielke (@ashleymielke) June 1, 2020