Nine people arrested at protest – over NYPD officer who was forced to draw weapon at another protest

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – It can be dizzying at times when trying to keep up with what the causes are of various protests aimed against police.

Apparently, a protest that transpired in the Brooklyn borough on January 16th was reportedly inspired by a previous demonstration where an NYPD officer allegedly drew down on an individual from that prior demonstration.

Considering that demonstrations aimed at police typically don’t end without some level of disturbance, it’s with little surprise that there has been a reported nine people arrested with regard to the demonstration that transpired on January 16th.  

According to reports regarding the demonstration from the evening of January 16th, an estimated 100 protesters had amassed outside of the Barclays Center.

Footage that was captured from the evening shows that there were indeed clashes and skirmishes between protesters and police officers that evening.

The display that occurred on the evening of January 16th is tied directly to an incident that transpired on the evening of January the 12th in New York City.

Protesters on the evening of the 16th were demanding essentially some form of disciplinary action be lodged against an officer who was caught on video being confronted by a hostile crowd on January 12th over allegedly un-holstering his sidearm and also not wearing a face covering.

The video that was put up on Twitter on January 12th doesn’t exactly show the officer un-holstering his weapon, but merely resting his hands on his belt.

But images have cropped up of what appears to be the same officer holding his sidearm – but there’s really no context being afforded as to what the circumstances of the un-holstered weapon was.

Nonetheless, there were people within the crowd that were harassing the officer, clamoring about him having un-holstered his weapon.

As the crowd from January 12th became more hostile toward that particular officer (and the ones near him), both he and another officer alongside of him un-holstered their batons and extended them in anticipation of possible physical confrontations that would be brought against them by the crowd.

In a statement from the NYPD with regard to the allegations brought against the officer from the January 12th video, they noted that the matter is under an internal investigation.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who represents the state’s 7th Congressional District, took to Twitter as well to drop her proverbial two cents noting the situation as being “unacceptable” and writing that the officers lack of a face covering is, “a threat to public safety and public health.”

As of this time the NYPD has not publicly identified the officer at the center of all this commotion, which makes sense since it’s not necessarily being treated as a criminal investigation but rather an allegation of misconduct.

This is a developing story and investigation. Please follow law enforcement today as we gather more insight into this developing matter.

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We also recently reported on other scrutiny that the NYPD is facing – in the form of the State Attorney General actually filing a lawsuit against the NYPD over alleged excessive force when dealing with aggressive protesters and rioters over the summer of 2020. 

Here’s that report from earlier in January. 

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the New York City Police Department (NYPD), alleging officers used excessive force and made false arrests against protesters last summer following the death of George Floyd.

Black Lives Matter and activists held large protests, often turning violent, across the country last year following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.

The protests grew larger and more violent after other documented deaths of black persons by police, including the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 69-page complaint filed in Southern District of New York federal court claims the NYPD the response to the protesters was part of a longstanding pattern of abuse. James announced the suit during a press conference today. Commenting on the investigation, she said:

“When we found was an egregious abuse of police power, ramped excessive use of force, and leadership unable and unwilling to stop it.”

The civil suit also named Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Dermot Shea, and Police Chief Terence Monhan as defendants.

The complaint claims that the defendants violated the First Amendment rights of protesters. James, who called the protests “mostly peaceful,” said:

“In our lawsuit, we outlined years of the NYPD’s illegal and harmful conduct against New Yorkers, most recently at protests that began this past May which has led to significant injuries and violated people’s basic rights to peacefully protest.”

James claimed that the police continued to violate people’s rights and used excessive force against protesters from May until December:

“NYPD officers engaged in blatant use of excessive force, and often misconduct, including the indiscriminate, unjustified, and repeated use of batons, pepper spray, bicycles, and a crowd-control tactic known as ‘kettling’ which caused significant physical harm.”

Kettling is a police maneuver where police confine a group of demonstrators in a small area as a method of crowd control. This type of force, some experts claim, causes tensions to rise and should not be used.

James said the NYPD also illegally detained observers, medics, and other essential workers in direct violation of a memo issued by Mayor de Blasio.

The Attorney General stated:

“We are seeking systemic reforms to the NYPD and the installation of a monitor to oversee the NYPD’s policing tactics in future protests and to ensure they are complying with the law. With today’s lawsuit, this longstanding pattern of brutal and illegal force ends.”

James was instructed to investigate the city’s handling of the protests in June by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo said he was concerned about “disturbing violent clashes” between NYPD officers and protesters.

The suit asks for a court order “declaring that the policies and practices that the NYPD used during these protests were unlawful.” The Attorney General is also asking for policy reforms and a monitor to oversee the NYPD.

The lawsuit claims Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Shay, and Chief Monahan failed to stop the pattern of abuse and false arrests by officers and allowed officers to violate protesters’ rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Police Benevolent Association issued a statement on its Twitter account shortly after the press conference. PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said:

“We will say it again: What we witnessed in June was a failure of New York City’s leadership. They sent cops out to police unprecedented protests and violent riots with no plan, no strategy, and no support.

“They should be forced to answer for the resulting chaos, instead of pointing fingers at cops on the streets and ignoring the criminals who attacked us with bricks and firebombs.”

The NYPD also issued a statement reacting to the lawsuit:

“The New York City Police Department welcomes reform and has embraced the recent suggestions by both the city’s Department of Investigation and the city’s Law Department.

“As the Mayor has said, adding another layer does not speed up the process of continued reform, which we have embraced and led the way on.”

Mayor de Blasio said that he supports major reforms within the NYPD, but does not support the lawsuit or the installation of a  federal monitor:

“A court process and the added bureaucracy of a federal monitor will not speed up this work. There is no time to waste and we will continue to press forward”

In June, both Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Shea defended the NYPD’s response to protests. They called the officers’ actions proportional, and that a small number of misconduct incidents were being investigated. Both officials pointed to looting, widespread property damage, and attacks on police by protesters.

In October, the city was sued by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society on behalf of protesters claiming they were assaulted by police.

The New York City Inspector General issued a report in December stating that officers resorted to aggressive tactics after being caught off guard by the size of the protests. The report was completed after 2,000 people were arrested in demonstrations in New York City from May to June.

Commissioner for the Department of Investigations Margaret Garnett said “the (police) response really was a failure on many levels.”

Following the Inspector General’s release of their findings, Mayor de Blasio stopped supporting the police response. He said:

“I look back with remorse. I wish I had done better. I want everyone to understand that. And I’m sorry I didn’t do better.”

Communities United for Police Reform praised the lawsuit. Spokesman Walter Winston Griffith said:

“NYPD violence against protesters is a long-standing problem and it’s a credit to Attorney General James that she’s using the power of her office to challenge the systemic lack of accountability for this violence.”

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