Shea blames agitators for cops making aggressive arrests at Bronx protest

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Commissioner Dermot Shea talks about the lower sick rate among police officers.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea justified Friday the aggressive end of a peaceful protest in the Bronx Thursday night, claiming that some agitators deliberately organized to injure cops and cause chaos.

“We disrupted the plan,” Shea said during the June 5 press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio. “There could have been people caught up in it.”

The commissioner said that posters had been displayed throughout Mott Haven which claimed that demonstrators were going “to burn things down” and “cause mayhem.”

Shea stated that officers recovered firearms, gasoline and numerous other unspecified weapons at the protests. He then blamed peaceful protesters for who “might have gotten caught up” in arrests or baton beatings for turning out to a protest that advertised violence. 

“I think people are accountable for their own actions too,” Shea told the press. “We all have to take a step back, exercise a little common sense and say if there is a place where people are saying there is going to be violence, why would you possibly want to go there?”

But a reporter at the scene of the protest told a different story during the conference. Protest organizers repeatedly instructed demonstrators to remain peaceful and to not destroy property and were officers charged, arresting protesters, medics and legal observers, without provocation. 

“I hear you, I respect your opinion, I’m not discounting what you saw and I believe you [when you say] that’s what you saw,” Shea rebutted, “but sometimes when you are in the middle of something you don’t get to see the big picture.”