One of the city’s police unions called Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez a liar, a coward and a disgrace after he accused officers of putting him in a chokehold during a rally Thursday for the release of an immigrant rights leader.
“We can’t call ourselves progressives and pro-immigrants when the @NYPDnews is doing chokehold to us,” Rodriguez wrote in a tweet with a photo of his arrest.
The photo shows an officer with both arms around the councilman’s neck. He was arrested as protesters surrounded an ambulance carrying Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the faith-based immigrant rights group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, who was detained when he went to a check-in with ICE. Ragbir had fainted after he was detained, a member of the New Sanctuary Coalition said.
In addition to Rodriguez, 17 other people, including Councilman Jumaane Williams, were arrested at the rally.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association, which represents 13,000 police officers, replied to Rodriguez’s tweet, calling him a liar and accusing him of injuring three members of the NYPD.
“Tell the people of NYC how you blocked an ambulance from taking a sick man to a hospital,” the tweet said. “Tell them how you resisted lawful orders and injured 3 members of the NYPD and tried to use your political position to threaten those officer and free yourself. COWARD,” the SBA said.
In another tweet, the union said Rodriguez is “a disgrace to the other members of City Council.”
“Make no mistake we will be in court. We will follow your case so the DA doesn’t play politics and surrender to political pressure,” the tweet said.
The councilman said the police were using an ambulance as a “dirty trick to confuse people.”
“The ambulance was NOT transporting a sick person. They were transporting Ravi, who is the head of the @NewSanctuaryNYC who was targeted for deportation. They use this dirty trick to confuse people & justify violence against peaceful protesters trying to prevent the deportation,” he said.
NYPD Sgt. Jessica McRorie said video of officers’ interactions with Rodriguez is being reviewed.
“At this point, it appears the police were clearing a path for an ambulance with a patient inside that was en route to a hospital,” McRorie said in an emailed statement. “The NYPD was attempting to clear a path for that ambulance, which was purposely and repeatedly being blocked.”
With Rajvi Desai, Alison Fox and Lauren Cook