Investigation Launched After NYPD SUVs Plowed Into Crowd Of Protesters

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio initially defended the incident, but later said it should be investigated after a wave of criticism.

Twitter/@rob_bennett

An investigation has been launched after two NYPD SUVs plowed into a crowd of people who were protesting the death of George Floyd over the weekend. 

Footage of the incident over the weekend sparked outrage from activists and elected officials, who accused NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio of not holding police accountable. 

Several videos shared on Saturday showed two police SUVs facing a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn who were demanding justice for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in police custody last week after a Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck and choked him. 

One of two SUVs was stopped before accelerating into a barricade and the crowd. The second SUV drove up from behind and straight into the crowd, with audible screams of terror from the protesters. The area behind the SUVs was clear. It is not clear yet whether anyone was injured. 

While addressing the protests on Saturday night, De Blasio defended the officers, saying, “Imagine what it would be like, you’re just trying to do your job and then you see hundreds of people converging upon you. I’m not gonna blame officers who are trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation.”

“The folks who were converging on that police car did the wrong thing to begin with and they created an untenable situation,” he continued. “I wish the officers had found a different approach. But let’s begin at the beginning. The protesters in that video did the wrong thing to surround them, surround that police car, period.”

De Blasio’s initial remarks drew a wave of criticism, forcing him to adjust his remarks during a Sunday morning press conference.

"I did not want to ever see something like that, I don't want to ever see it again," he said. "And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said on Sunday that he's asked state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate clashes between protesters and the NYPD over the weekend.

"We take the designation to investigate last night's actions very seriously. We will act independently to seek answers, ensure that the truth is laid bare, and that there is accountability for any wrongdoing. We will be transparent in our findings as we seek accountability for those who did wrong," James said in a statement.

Local news outlets reported on Sunday that De Blasio’s daughter Chiara, 25, was arrested at a Manhattan protest on Saturday night. De Blasio confirmed her arrest during a Monday morning briefing and said she “is an incredibly good human being … She was peacefully protesting, not doing anything that would provoke a negative response.”

Demonstrations protesting police brutality have erupted over the past week, morphing into widespread civil unrest across the country. In Minnesota, the unrest has intensified since it started on Tuesday over Floyd’s death.