New York City police officers were seen driving two SUVs into a crowded Brooklyn demonstration Saturday night. The disturbing video begins with protesters throwing objects at one SUV with a barricade between the vehicle and the crowd when a second SUV enters the frame and pushes forward the barricade. The demonstrations began as a protest against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The video starts with protesters on one side of the barricade, tossing objects, including bottles and traffic cones, at a parked police SUV in the middle of the street. A second SUV swerves around the first, then plows right through the crowd. The officer driving the first vehicle plows forward as well, pushing the barricade ahead. One video of the scene was shot at street level, while another showed the scene from overhead.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted one of the videos and called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to hold the officers accountable. "We need rapid, real de-escalation and we need it right now. We cannot descend into the chaos of violence," Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a second tweet. "Please everyone, stay safe."
Floyd died on Monday while in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. Since then, there have been several protests in major cities across the country, many turning violent. Saturday marked the third day of protests in New York. Before the protests began, de Blasio said videos of protesters being shoved and beaten in Brooklyn Friday night were "deeply disturbing," reports Gothamist.
"We’ve seen some videos that do not reflect the philosophy of this city; the values of this city; the values of this administration," de Blasio said. "That is not neighborhood policing, and we will not accept any of that behavior." He said there will be a full independent review of the videos from Friday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said New York state Attorney General Letitia James would be starting an investigation into "all actions and procedures" for the protests.
De Blasio said some protests "came with an agenda" to attack police officers and they put peaceful protesters and officers in danger. "Any protester that tries to take the humanity away from a police officer and devalue them just because they're a public servant is no better than the racists who devalue people of color, in particular black men in America," he said.