New York Times: Police Response to Protests Called Into Question


NEW YORK, NY – A story published yesterday and updated today in The New York Times discusses several incidents that occurred over the weekend as police and protesters clashed across all five boroughs. Demonstrations against police brutality are stretching into their fourth day as police continue to crack down with what has been widely described as excessive force in many instances.

Video footage shows protesters being hit with pepper spray and rubber bullets, thrown to the ground by riot gear-clad officers, and rammed with police vehicles, often with no warning and after little provocation. The reaction by many officers underscores the police behavior that drew protesters to the streets in the first place.

The area around the Barclays Center has been a rallying point for the anti-brutality protests that have swept New York.

“I didn’t like what I saw one bit,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the protests. “I did not want to ever see something like that.” He went on to praise the department for exercising a “tremendous amount of restraint.”

But while the mayor praised the NYPD for its restraint, experts acknowledge that police are most likely to respond to demonstrations violently when their behavior is the subject of the protests. They are also more likely to react violently to young people and people of color.

“There’s deep resentment on the part of the police that so many people are angry at them, and they’re lashing out,” Alex Vitale, a sociologist at Brooklyn College who specializes in police response to protests, told the Times. “Look at what we saw — people sitting on their own stoops getting hit with pepper balls. Anyone who looks at them funny, they’re attacking them.”

If you have been injured while exercising your First Amendment rights, contact the New York police brutality attorneys of Finz & Finz, P.C., today by calling 1-855-TOP-FIRM.

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