After NYPD made up to 25 arrests of protesters during a Wednesday night demonstration via the controversial method of “kettling,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday morning that he did not know the details of the events in question during a morning press conference.
Weighing the times NYPD has successfully facilitated peaceful protest versus instances during the George Floyd demonstrations, de Blasio backed the department while stating that he would be working through the details with officials later in the day.
“But what we have to do as a city, and what the NYPD has to do is always deescalate situations that has to be the consistent approach, and that’s what I expect,” de Blasio said. “I’m not familiar with all the details from last night. I will be talking through with the police department leadership later and reviewing exactly what happened. But the crucial point here is that we obviously cannot allow violence, let’s be clear, attacks on people, setting fires, attacks on officers, attacks on property, we just can’t allow that and we won’t but at the same time goal is always to deescalate.”
Videos across Twitter depicted violent interactions between protestors and police – and a number of instances where protesters were arrested while obey NYPD commands to vacate the street for the sidewalk. Multiple instances of kettling, which has been disputed in the European court of human rights and has been reviewed by Human Rights Watch, were seen posted to social media as well as interactions deemed shocking to viewers.
Autonomous protestors and press around Leroy and 7th Ave from Washington Sq are attacked, beaten, kettled and shoved by NYPD. pic.twitter.com/YOhKOYEjqp
— NYC Protest Updates 2020 (@protest_nyc) November 5, 2020
Public Advocate Jumaane William condemned de Blasio’s remarks on the topic stating that his administration as well as NYPD, since the May and June demonstrations, has not adequately held cops accountable to their actions during protests.
“Last night, we saw videos of the NYPD appearing overly aggressive in the way it polices certain protests – particularly through kettling and dozens of arrests,” Williams said. “These early enforcement actions seemed intended to suppress, rather than ensure that non-violent protest happens safely. The context of a contentious election and the disparate response to recent protests for other causes are reasons for even greater scrutiny and deeper concern. I was not present last night, but over the summer I personally witnessed extreme aggression by police that was excused and dismissed by the department and the Mayor.”
In all, about 25 people were arrested in the area of Washington Square Park out of around 500 in a group known as the “People’s March.”
The purpose of the protest? Calling on the Trump administration to not interfere with or obstruct election results.