NYPD chief accidentally pepper sprays himself during Manhattan Bridge pro-Palestine protest that saw more than 100 arrests

Aerial shot of NYPD confronting protesters on Manhattan Bridge
Aerial shot of NYPD confronting protesters on Manhattan Bridge; during this confrontation, an NYPD chief apparently pepper-sprayed himself.
Screenshot via X/@NYPDDaughtry

An NYPD assistant chief accidentally turned a pepper spray gun on himself while working on the Manhattan Bridge Saturday during a chaotic pro-Palestine protest that led to at least 100 arrests, sources said.

According to sources with knowledge of the incident, Assistant Chief James McCarthy, who works out of Patrol Borough Manhattan South and is frequently observed policing protests, was part of the NYPD’s effort to break up a large group of demonstrators marching across the Manhattan Bridge on May 11.

McCarthy — along with a slew of cops — began jostling with protesters who had interlocked arms, resulting in the assistant chief fumbling for a small pepper spray. During the mayhem, sources said, he accidentally had the device pointed in the wrong direction and sprayed himself in the face.

Temporarily blinded, McCarthy was led away by officers with visibly swollen and reddened eyes while calling for an ambulance. He was treated on the scene by having his face repeatedly rinsed with water before being whisked to an ambulance.

Several other officers may have also had some of the substance come in contact with their eyes.

This came during an afternoon of a large-scale, pro-Palestine protest dubbed “day of action” that kicked-off at around 2 p.m. Saturday outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Hundreds joined the weekend demonstration that saw arrests begin just minutes into its gathering for infractions such as illegally using a sound amplification device.

However, things apparently escalated when protesters headed over the Manhattan Bridge and marched along the roadway in what police officials denounced as a dangerous move.

“Today, over 100 protestors intentionally blocked lanes of traffic on the Manhattan Bridge,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “More than an inconvenience, this is a public safety hazard.”

Police confronted the protesters from the Manhattan side to halt the effort; in doing so, cops briefly detained some photojournalists and arrested a slew of protesters.

Daughtry released aerial footage of the scene that showed cops prying apart protesters who had locked arms.