George Floyd protests: Food delivery worker arrest amid NYC protests raises concern about NYPD tactics

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, June 5, 2020
Deliveryman arrest amid protests raises concern about NYPD tactics
Candace McCowan has more on the food delivery worker who was arrested during protests Thursday.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A food delivery worker was arrested during an NYPD sweep of protesters Thursday night, raising additional concerns over new police tactics of targeting peaceful protesters who are violating curfew and how essential workers are being impacted as demonstrations continue over the death of George Floyd.

The arrest of the deliveryman for DoorDash and Caviar happened shortly after 8 p.m. at Central Park West and 108th Street and was caught on camera by a bystander who posted on Twitter.

It shows the man being taken into custody by police after getting caught up in a roundup of protesters who violated the 8 p.m. curfew.

"No more tolerance," NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said after the change in policing. "They have to be off the street, an 8 p.m. curfew...We're just not going to take it."

Related: 'No more tolerance:' NYPD breaks up peaceful protests after curfew

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he watched the video after it was posted and responded with his own Tweet calling the incident "troubling."

"Just got off the phone with @NYPDShea after seeing the troubling video of a delivery worker arrested by police while doing his job. This is NOT acceptable and must stop. Food delivery is essential work and is EXEMPTED from the curfew. Same goes for journalists covering protests and out doing their jobs. They are essential workers, too. We WILL protect their rights. The public depends on the information they provide. Will get NYPD to fix this immediately."

He later repeated his assertion that essential workers should be allowed to do their jobs during curfew hours.

Mayor Bill de Blasio discusses the arrest of essential workers during protests.

The man was released before dawn without a summons, though a law enforcement official disputed the narrative.

The official said the man was on his bike, shouting at officers and recording them with his cell phone, when he was directed to go home. He refused and was taken into custody, at which point he objected and stated he was a delivery worker.

Following an investigation, however, the official said police determined he was not in the process of making a delivery and had not made one that day.

Door Dash confirmed to Eyewitness News that the man was working, saying in a statement, "Our records indicate the courier was doing deliveries during the evening the incident took place."

De Blasio had previously condemned police for roughing up journalists, including two from the AP who were shoved, cursed at, and told to go home by officers Tuesday night.

The new policy has come under fire from some city officials, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who attended a rally in downtown Brooklyn and expressed outrage that peaceful demonstrations were broken up.

"I can't believe what I just witnessed & experienced," Williams wrote on Twitter, calling the use of force on nonviolent protesters "disgusting."

Social media video showed cops boxing in protesters shortly after the curfew in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn, using a controversial technique called kettling in which officers surround protesters from all sides and box them in.

Police want protesters off the streets so cops can patrol for looters, and police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the NYPD's use of force was justified but that officials are reviewing about seven instances that may result in discipline.

Some politicians, including Council Speaker Corey Johnson, are calling for the curfew to end now that the looting has gotten under control.

Mike Marza reports that hours after Wednesday's curfew went into effect, thousands of people still continued to defy the curfew in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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