De Blasio Just Commended NYPD for “Tremendous Restraint” After Police Van Plows Through Crowd

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the NYC mayor’s comments Saturday night “unacceptable.” He doubled down Sunday.

Twitter

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

After another day of mass protests across the country over the police killing of George Floyd, one image stands out above all the rest: a video of a police van plowing through a throng of protesters in New York City Saturday night. It seemed to confirm everything the protesters were saying about police brutality. 

The incident was just one instance of many around the country where the police seemed to be doing more to inflame an already dangerous situation than to defuse it. But at a press conference Sunday morning, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the incident as an outlier in a night in which NYPD officers largely exercised “tremendous restraint” in dealing with the protesters.

“I don’t to ever want to see that again,” he said of the video, while announcing an investigation into the events of the past few days. At the same time, he declared the events of the past two days proof that his efforts to reform a troubled police department and retrain officers in de-escalation tactics was working. “It says something about New York City,” he said. “It says something about NYPD that, thank God, there was no loss of life….We saw tremendous restraint from the NYPD. I watched video after video after video of officers having projectiles thrown at them,” he said. “I saw officers with teeth knocked out. I saw officers spit at. Yet the vast majority of officers stood restrained and took it. They did not allow themselves to be provoked. I challenge any civilian to stand there for hours and hours and take that.”

As for the police vehicle plowing through a crowd of protesters, he told a reporter, “That’s not the way things are supposed to be. But do not present only one side of the story. I saw people throwing things at the vehicle. Let’s not kid ourselves. That’s not peaceful protest.”

This largely echoes what the mayor said late Saturday night, when he noted that the video “is upsetting, and I wish the officers hadn’t done that,” but that the officers “didn’t start this situation. The situation was started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retorted on Twitter Saturday night that de Blasio’s comments were simply “unacceptable”: 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.