NYPD Confirms Officers Who Drove SUVs Into Protesters Didn't Break Any Rules
Videos of police violence from cities across the country have emerged since protests against police brutality broke out earlier this summer. Cell phone recordings showed the Indianapolis police groping a woman and then beating her to the ground as she pulled away. A mounted police officer in Houston trampled a woman on the horse he was riding on, and Buffalo officials brutally attacked an older man.
An incident that went viral at the start of the protests was captured from different angles: NYPD officers in two marked SUVs plowing through a crowd of demonstrators.
May 31, 2020
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While the average viewer might be shocked and disgusted, NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea wants to reassure everyone that officials didn't violate departmental guidelines when they became human. On Monday, Shea appeared in front of New York Attorney General Letitia James in a public online hearing in an ongoing investigation into the NYPD's reactions to the police brutality protests, and Shea clearly defended the actions of the officials.
When James asked about the incident, "Did that violate your policy on violence?" Shea simply replied, "No." He went on to say, "Our home affairs bureau has investigated this information and we have bookkeeping beforehand about this incident where we have officers in a situation where essentially demonstrators are penning them in."
So, asked James, would Shea see it as an "appropriate use of force"?
Shea replied, "I'm not saying the police car was used as a force of violence. The officers were attacked and attacked, and luckily they were able to get out of this situation without injuring anyone."
It was apparently impossible to secure the vehicles when Shea reported on events, but just as troubling is the jargon on which he relies to minimize the severity and brutality of the officers below him: beating people with a car is only an "use of violence" if the NYPD finds no way to justify it retrospectively.
A recent investigation by ProPublica found similar conclusions: Editor Eric Umansky saw the police drive a car straight into oncoming traffic and hit a black teenager they were chasing, causing him to roll over the hood and onto concrete. In his quest to contact the NYPD and confirm whether the boy is well, Umansky learned that officials are largely protected from oversight and that they will not, as long as they can provide a justification for their actions at the moment to encounter.
As the NYPD bends back to justify overt police violence, the department and the police unions representing it often hurry to accuse civilians of violence against the police. A week before Shea gave his testimony, three officers were reportedly ill after getting milkshakes in a Manhattan Shake Shack, and police unions there quickly accused the officials of deliberately poisoning the officials with bleach. As the New York Post has reported, it was impossible for employees to know that they were preparing orders for officials because they gave the orders online. In addition, the police didn't even get sick because they immediately tried something wrong and informed the shake shack management. The poisoning hysteria appears to have been caused solely by the police officers of Imagination, who ordered the restaurant to be treated as a crime scene hours after the incident.
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Originally released on GQ
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