Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that the NYPD was wrong for arresting legal observers during June’s Mott Haven protests over George Floyd’s death — but stopped short of criticizing the curfew crackdown at the time.
“With all due respect to the NYPD, the NYPD is wrong on this one,” de Blasio said on WNYC radio’s “The Brian Lehrer show” when asked about police arresting legal observers who had paperwork from the mayor’s office saying they were essential workers.
The mayor’s admission came two days after Human Rights Watch admonished the June 4 police response in a scathing report that described it as one of the department’s “most aggressive and abusive responses” during Floyd demonstrations.
De Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea previously praised the forceful break-up, which began 10 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew.
The Human Rights Watch report said the trapping of roughly 300 protesters using a tactic known as “kettling” and police “whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground and firing pepper spray in their faces” minutes after curfew violated “international human rights” and possibly US civil rights.
The mayor said Friday he was waiting on a final report on the response from the city’s Department of Investigation and corporation counsel Jim Johnson on the NYPD’s handling of the protests.
When asked about the four-month delay, de Blasio said DOI is “very thorough” and that he “doesn’t have authority to hurry along the investigation.
“I do believe there was a special circumstance there because of a threat of violence …and some evidence that it was being played out,” the mayor said.
Shea had claimed at a press conference at the time that cops confiscated a gun, gasoline and weapons at the protest — but olice officials had to walk back that account after The Post reported no weapons or gasoline was found.
The Human Rights Watch called on the mayor in the report to fire or discipline Shea over his “misinformation” in his public narrative of the response.
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