Audio recordings from the New York City Police Department's scanners seem to reveal officers condoning violence against peaceful protesters. The clip features one voice telling officers to "run them over," while another advises: "shoot those motherf—ers." So far, it has not been confirmed that this recording features the voices of only officers or also others hijacking the signal.
TMZ originally published the NYPD recording on Tuesday, and it began with one voice calling in to describe a scene where protesters were blocking streets and preventing police officers from getting through. The speaker concluded: "so, we're stuck here," and after a brief pause, the first answer was a simple: "Run them over!" The other was an angry voice saying: "Shoot those motherf—ers." Finally, a fourth voice chimed in to say: "Don't put that over the air."
Let me put this out there. This was over the NYPD scanner. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! pic.twitter.com/pBu6CnZDtT— #BlackLivesMatter (@candidethan) June 2, 2020
The caution was obviously warranted since the recording was isolated and released later on. Police use radio communication that is publicly available to individuals with their own machines, which means that, in some cases, savvy users can insert their own voices into the broadcast. It could be that an instigator chimed in with these inflammatory remarks, TMZ points out, although critics do not think it's likely.
The NYPD itself told reporters that it is "aware" of the audio recording now circulating and is looking into it. It is not clear if there is going to be an official investigation into the conversation, or if anyone faces a chance of being fired. The broadcast came from near the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn.
On social media, users pointed out that it is not hard to believe the recording was legitimate since the NYPD did run over civilians with their cars on Saturday. Multiple video angles show a moment where protesters filled the street, blocking two SUVs from passing. After a moment's hesitation, the vehicles simply plowed into the crowd, hitting peaceful protesters, knocking many to the ground and putting them all in danger.
As for the intersection described in the recording, a witness spoke to The Gothamist on Saturday, confirming that there was a spontaneous protest at that exact time. He said that two NYPD SUVs pulled up, and then "a number of cops in riot gear game out of the car, they cleared it up, and that made the crowd a little bit more agitated. There was some aggressive pushing between the cops and the people on the street, and people were pissed that this powerful moment as broken up."