Yet another tale from the ongoing riots (or “protests”) in the Big Apple this weekend features more interactions between rioters and NYPD vehicles. But unlike the previous stories where the mob destroys the police cruisers, in this situation, when crowds surrounded and began attacking the vehicles, the cops decided they’d had enough and just drove through the crowd. A few people were knocked down, but nobody was seriously injured and the police proceeded to go about their duties. I’ll embed the video for you here. Just assume the normal trigger warning if you find this sort of thing disturbing.
After the fact, Mayor Bill de Blasio was obviously asked for his reaction to these events. Any time that you mix up Mayor de Blasio with anything involving the police, it rarely turns out well. He has a terrible reputation among the force and neither rarely has a good word to say about the other. But in this case, Hizzoner surprised me. While he found it disturbing, he went to bat for the NYPD and said that the rioters shouldn’t have been surrounding and attacking a police vehicle. (NBC News)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the New York City Police Department after a pair of the force’s SUVs drove into a crowd during Saturday’s protest against George Floyd’s death…
“It is inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” he said. “That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city.”
He added that it was “clear that a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles.”
While he wished the officers had not driven into the crowd, de Blasio said he “understood they didn’t start the situation,” which he said was “started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle.”
If de Blasio had just stopped there and stuck to his position he would have been fine. In fact, he would have garnered some exceptionally rare praise on this page. He expressed regret over the fact that the situation had to come to pass, but he defended the police officers who were clearly not the ones creating that dangerous situation. The people intent on “hurting police officers” and damaging emergency vehicles were causing their own problems.
Unfortunately, the political pressure from the left must have gotten to him. By this morning his tune had changed considerably. Appearing at a press conference, the Mayor “clarified” his previous statements to say that he didn’t like what he saw. No, sir. He didn’t like it one bit.
“I did not want to ever see something like that I don’t want to ever see it again,” de Blasio said during a Sunday press conference. “And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently.”
The mayor said an independent review into the video would be led by Corporation Counsel James Johnson and NYC Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett and their findings would be concluded in June.
So de Blasio went from finally taking the correct position and doing the right thing to a nearly full reversal back to his typical attitude in less than a day. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised.
But as you can see from not only the video above but many other news reports over the past several days, the police quickly run out of options in these situations. They are outnumbered by a thousand to one or more in most cases. And these are not peaceful protesters in any sense of the word. They are brazenly attacking the police, destroying and burning their vehicles, and in at least one case, throwing Molotov cocktails at them. This isn’t a case of graffiti or hurling insults. There’s a war going on out there and the police are being targeted.
If those officers had remained parked where they were trapped by the rioters, they could have wound up with their windows broken out quickly. At that point, they would have had to resort to firearms to save themselves, and you can imagine the headlines that would have come from that, assuming the officers even survived. So both units wound up driving slowly through the crowd until they cleared the group of thugs that were attacking them. Frankly, the looters should have considered themselves lucky that nobody was actually run over.
The police showed far more consideration for the mob than the rioters were showing for them. It’s just a pity that Mayor de Blasio couldn’t manage to have their backs during this emergency situation.