Police intended to keep two groups of protesters separate, but when pro-police marchers got to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, they met up with anti-police protesters occupying City Hall and chaos broke out around 10 a.m.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan was among the seven officers injured during protests at City Hall when they were hit with canes, bats and debris.
NewsCopter 7 was next to City Hall where those marchers stopped to hold a peaceful rally.
Protesters at the "Defund the Police" encampment clashed with police and at least seven NYPD officers suffered injuries -- Monahan suffered a hand injury, a lieutenant was struck in the head, a sergeant was struck in the head and a lieutenant suffered an eye socket fracture. The other three offers suffered minor injuries.
"They literally arrested about 20 of our folks, as this protest, stop, we're going to arrest Black Lives Matter protesters and then allow this protest to peacefully come by," said Jonathan Lykes, Black Youth Project 100. "They didn't want a counter protest, they didn't want democracy, they didn't want freedom in this moment."
Police say 36 people were arrested, including individuals who assaulted cops.
Three officers violently attacked by protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The officers sustained serious injuries.— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 15, 2020
This is not peaceful protest, this will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/cYuDX8G7ku
Shaborn Banks, 25, is accused of punching a lieutenant and leaving him with a fractured eye socket and 25-year-old Quran Campbell is charged with assaulting three officers on the bridge.
Police are still searching for an individual who assaulted officers with a cane.
"These are the conditions your officers have to operate in every day while they continue to protect your neighborhoods," said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea. "Such assaults are ALWAYS unacceptable, and should outrage us all."
NYPD Sergeants' Union President Ed Mullins said Mayor Bill de Blasio has lost control of the city.
"This guy in City Hall will not let us do our job," Mullins said. "It's time that stops, and it's time they have a voice."
Mullins was among the organizers of the march, along with ministers from Brooklyn.
De Blasio made a show of signing some police reform measures, including a ban on chokeholds, but some say it's time the mayor shows support for the police.
Anti-police activists, camped in City Hall Park, insisted it was a provocation that led to the melee.
"They didn't want a counter-protest," anti-police activist Jonathan Lykes said. "They didn't want democracy, they didn't want freedom in this moment. They set us up, intentionally."
But supporters of the police say concessions to the activists have gone too far.
"The police are here to help us, you know, not to hurt us," pro-police demonstrator Clyde Jasmin said. "Report these shootings and murders and hopefully get our city back."
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"We're fighting for unity. It just seems that there's so much violence," said Bill Casey, Retired Sergeant Association. "And the cops are being portrayed as villains instead of what they really are, which is heroes."
"We support the police and we need their help because this city is becoming a war zone," said Tamara Lashchyk, a pro-police demonstrator.
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