Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic during Tuesday evening’s rush hour as they marched from Manhattan’s Union Square and across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest police killings of blacks in South Carolina and Staten Island.
The protest began peacefully but soon turned violent, with several arrests made for assaults on police officers. An off-duty police officer driving home on Brooklyn Bridge was attacked by two protesters when he got out of his vehicle to investigate. Police say the suspects fled after he identified himself as a police officer. The officer was hospitalized with injuries to his face and arm.
Mayor Bill de Blasio immediately released a statement Tuesday night condemning the violence.
“Violence or threats of violence against the police are unacceptable and will absolutely not be tolerated,” de Blasio said. “… Anyone who decides foolishly to engage in such destructive acts can expect a swift arrest and aggressive prosecution.”
Last year, two officers were assaulted on the bridge during a protest over Eric Garner’s death. Five people were later arrested in that assault.
De Blasio was attacked by law enforcement unions for not being sufficiently supportive of them during those anti-police rallies.