Mayor Eric Adams defends NYPD response during protests in Bay Ridge, promises investigation

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Mayor defends NYPD response during protests in Brooklyn
Janice Yu has the details.

BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams defended New York City police on Tuesday after they clashed with pro-Palestinian protesters in Brooklyn over the weekend, but promised an investigation.

The Legal Aid Society said that the protesters in Bay Ridge were met with violence from police using tactical gear like batons and brute force on Saturday. The organization believes these actions violated new policies about the way police handle protests.

Adams defended the police response and insisted that officers did their job and responded as some protesters broke the law.

People were gathered in the heavily Arab American neighborhood for the Nakba, an annual gathering to remember when Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

"The violence that was unleashed was unprecedented in our Nakba Day rally's entire history, and showed the great lengths that the NYPD will use to defend the genocide in Gaza," said Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of Within Our Lifetime. "The NYPD came into a community and became the outside agitators."

Videos circulating online show officers grabbing some of the protesters and dragging them to the ground. Officers are also seen punching several people.

According to the NYPD, of the 40 people were arrested, 87% are not from the neighborhood and a third had prior arrests at other protests.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry also posted a video on social media pinpointing the moments that people threw things at officers, assaulted them and rode on top of a moving MTA bus.

"We will not accept the narrative that persons arrested were victims, nor are we going to allow illegal behavior," he wrote.

Adams said the city is looking at three or four officers' actions and they will investigate.

The NYPD said responses to 63 emergency 911 calls were delayed by the protests.

"You don't have the right to spit in the face of police officers," Adams said. "You don't have the right to ride on top of a bus. You don't have the right to stop the flow of traffic when emergency calls of service from those who live in that community. You don't have the right to disobey the rules."

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