Multiple NYPD officers, including Chief of Department Terence Monahan, were injured Wednesday by protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge, the NYPD said.
Anti-police protestors began marching at 9:45 a.m. from Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, part of ongoing protests in the city and across the nation since the death in May of George Floyd, a black man in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Around 10:30 a.m., NYPD officers took into custody a protestor who was blocking cars on the road below the walkway. As the officers held the suspect against a fence, video tweeted by the NYPD shows a protestor on the walkway reach over the fence to the roadway and swing a cane twice at the officers, causing head injuries to a lieutenant and a sergeant.
In a separate incident during the protest, a lieutenant suffered two broken orbital bones and facial lacerations requiring 12 stitches after he was punched by two men, one of whom was wearing multiple metal rings. The other alleged assailant also punched another police officer in the face, causing him to lose consciousness, and punched Chief Monahan in the face as well.
All three suspects in the assaults on police were eventually apprehended. When officers attempted to arrest the alleged cane-swinger, the suspect kicked at one officer and bit another in the head. Around 40 protestors were arrested in total.
“This is not peaceful protest,” the NYPD tweeted, “this will not be tolerated.”
Councilman Chaim Deutsch, a long-time police advocate, tweeted, “This should make every law abiding New Yorker ANGRY. We are less safe in NYC because our cops aren’t allowed to do their jobs. They are undermined and attacked at every turn. If you care about YOUR safety, then you should be fighting for a safe and strong police force.”
Last month, Monahan demonstrated solidarity with protestors in Washington Square Park by holding hands with them and taking a knee, and then hugging one. Mayor Bill de Blasio then tweeted, “We’re lucky to have people like Chief Monahan wearing the uniform. He believes in Neighborhood Policing with all his heart.”
But the mayor has recently expressed a different viewpoint than Monahan’s and that of other NYPD brass, on the causes of the recent spike in shootings and homicides in the city. De Blasio has blamed “dislocation” effects from the coronavirus pandemic, mainly the closure of the court system. Monahan, on the other hand, has also pinned the blame on recent criminal-justice reforms, as well as “days of anti-police marches that honestly crushed the morale of our cops, and it created a large sense of animosity towards the police.”
At his daily press conference Wednesday morning, de Blasio said he has “great respect” for Monahan.
“I don’t agree with him on everything he said, but I respect his right to say it, to express his honest concerns,” said the mayor. “You can listen to someone and respect their experience, but also disagree.”
De Blasio on Wednesday signed into law a series of police reforms, at the scene of a Black Lives Matter mural he helped paint in the Bronx. The reforms include a ban on chokeholds – as well as forbidding police from ever sitting or kneeling on a suspect’s back or stomach during an arrest, which has come under heavy criticism from Monahan and other police brass. The reforms also include the right of citizens to record police activity, require police transparency on the use of surveillance technologies, establish an online police disciplinary matrix, and mandates that officers on duty have their shield number and rank designations visible.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has been at the forefront of change in New York City and across our nation,” de Blasio said. “I’m proud to sign these sweeping reforms into law and honor the work they’ve done. I’m confident we can make these reforms work and continue strengthening the bond between police officers and our communities.”
In an emailed statement to Hamodia shortly after 5:30 p.m., De Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, said, “As the mayor showed today in the Bronx, we are working to heal the relationship between police and the community. That starts with standing together and advancing reforms, and it also means we cannot accept violence against our police officers.“
De Blasio called Monahan immediately upon hearing of his injury, but did not issue a public statement or tweeted about the incident. Throughout the day, de Blasio sent 11 tweets or re-tweets related to the Bronx event and police reform bills – such as, “You demanded serious policing reform in New York City. We heard you. We acted.”
Updated Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 4:20 pm .