On Monday, U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, and a handful of state and city elected officials called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to fire the NYPD officer who shoved a female protester to the ground during a George Floyd protest.
Cell phone footage of the incident filmed by a reporter on Friday shows an officer, identified by electeds as Vincent D’Andraia from the 73rd precinct, pushing Douyna Zayer from Brooklyn with two hands causing her to fall violently to the ground and hit her head off the pavement.
The footage was caught by Newsweek reporter Jason Lemon as he covered a George Floyd protest at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. At the top of the viral video with over 13.7 million views, Lemon wrote that the officer called Zayer a “stupid fucking bitch” before pushing her.
Zayer later posted videos to Twitter from a hospital bed saying that after hitting her head she suffered a seizure and that doctors diagnosed her with a concussion. Jeffries, Clarke, state Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Latrice Walker and City Councilmembers Laurie Cumbo and Alicka Ampry-Samuel, also present at the press conference at One Police Plaza, also called for the removal of D’Andraia’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Craig Edelman.
Lemon’s video shows Edelman turning his head to look at a fallen Zayer and then continuing to walk with protesters.
“He took no action to de-escalate the situation, reprimand the officer, he didn’t even stop to render aid,” said Representative Clarke. “He was actionless at best, complicit at worst.”
According to Clarke, Friday’s behavior was not out of the ordinary for D’Andraia’s who has the reputation of being an aggressive officer at the 73rd precinct. The actions of the officer at the 73rd precinct have been so bad that, according to Councilmember Ampry-Samuel, a group of second graders visited her office a few months ago with letters, questions, and requests for officers to stop “harassing and killing their family members and neighbors.”
“What was on display, caught on video for the whole world to see, has been played out regularly on the streets, on his beat, where he is stationed in Brownsville, Brooklyn,” said Clarke. “They can not be trusted with the well being of our communities,” Clarke added about both Edelman and D’Andraia. Clarke and Jeffries called for disciplinary action against Edelman and for his removal from a leadership position.
“We are always told that it’s the bad apples, but bad apples ruin the whole batch,” said Senator Myrie. Myrie was pepper-sprayed and briefly handcuffed during Friday’s George Floyd protest at Barclays Center. At the protest, he wore a neon green colored shirt with his name and title on it. “And we are forced to eat that apple pie in black communities and then people are shocked when we are tired of being poisoned.”
The incident was just one of many violent interactions between officers and demonstrators during the weekend’s George Floyd protests including officers driving throw a crowd of protesters, unprovoked pepper-spraying and baton beating. There were countless close calls including one instance when an officer pointing his gun at protesters at E. 12th St. and Broadway on Sunday night.
On Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would investigate all allegations of police misconduct. Something he repeated during a press conference Monday morning.
“There’s going to be in each and every instance where an officer did something wrong – and we’ve all seen the video of an officer pushing a young woman to the ground, we’ve seen the video of an officer opening a car door and hitting a protester – all of these matters are under review right now,” de Blasio told reporters. “We need to show the people of this city that there’s one standard.”