After a police scanner recorded someone encouraging violence against protesters, the New York Police Department is investigating about the matter.
The conversations occurred Monday evening during a demonstration in Brooklyn after an individual called in and complained about being stuck because of a march.
“Central, we have a group of people blocking traffic on Albany and Dean Street,” the first voice stated. “They’re refusing to let (inaudible) go eastbound on Dean Street and Albany, so we’re stuck here.”
“Run them over,” another voice replied.
In a second clip, someone said “shoot those motherf—-rs.”
“Don’t put that over the air,” answered another person.
It is unconfirmed if there was an interference from a third party or actual police officers. An NYPD spokesperson said the incident is under investigation.
“Clear communication is critical in times of crises,” the rep said.
During the unrest related to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after an encounter with the Minneapolis Police Department on Memorial Day, the NYPD has been under fire for its behavior on addressing the situation.
Two instances of police misconduct were reported last weekend. On Saturday, two police SUVs were driven through a crowd of demonstrators. The following day, an officer pointed his service weapon at a crowd. Initially, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio empathized with and defended the police.
“Officers have to get out of the situation. It’s a very, very tense situation and imagine what it’d be like if you’re just trying to do your job and you see hundreds of people converging upon you,” de Blasio said on Saturday night.
“I’m not gonna blame officers who are trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation,” the mayor continued. “The folks who were converging on that police car did the wrong thing to begin with and they created an untenable situation. I wish the officers would have found a different approach, but let’s begin at the beginning, the protesters in that video did the wrong thing to surround that police car. Period.”
He changed his tune a couple days later.
“That was so troubling. I don’t think I expressed it as well as I should have,” de Blasio told reporters on Monday. “There is no situation where a police vehicle should drive into a crowd of New Yorkers. It is dangerous and unacceptable.”
He also condemned the officer who pulled his gun on a group of civilians.
“That officer should have his gun and badge taken away immediately today,” de Blasio said.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told NPR there are six incidents under internal investigation. He said the force is dealing with a “very, very tense and difficult situation.”
“I would just tell everybody that in that particular incident and other incidents, which is very disturbing, obviously, it’s difficult to watch as the officers drive towards the crowd,” he explained to host Ari Shapiro.
Shea listed several examples of clashes his officers have had with protesters.
“What you also, I think, need to talk about is the fact that the officers were going to a call for assistance, and they were intentionally set upon and ambushed by this crowd and blocked in with barriers,” he continued. “Items struck the police vehicle. We’ve had in the days leading up to this as well as that day other incidents like that. We’ve had Molotov cocktails thrown at police cars while the police officers are in it.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on May 30 that she was investigating the NYPD’s interactions with citizens.
“Peaceful protest is a basic civil right. That right should be protected and guarded. We take the designation to investigate last night’s actions very seriously,” James said in a press release. “We will act independently to seek answers, ensure that the truth is laid bare, and that there is accountability for any wrongdoing. We will be transparent in our findings as we seek accountability for those who did wrong.”