Conservative America would have you believe that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization and that every BLM protest is a stage for violence, looting and assaults on police officers—despite the fact that a strong majority of protests against systemic racism in policing aren’t violent at all. What anti-BLM people will likely never accept is that police officers have contributed to the violence and chaos that has occurred during the wave of protests that have taken place this year.
On Friday, a city oversight agency released a report criticizing the New York Police Department’s handling of protests over the death of George Floyd—among others—that took place over the summer.
NYC’s Department of Investigation found in its 115-page analysis that NYPD officers were undertrained and underprepared in their handling of protests and civil unrest and that they often engaged in “excessive enforcement” and actions that were, “at a minimum, unprofessional and, at worst, unjustified excessive force or abuse of authority.”
In its summary, the report acknowledges that the protests “were sparked by Floyd’s death, but quickly expanded to embrace broader concerns about systemic racism in law enforcement and whether police are held accountable for excessive force.” The report also mentioned that protests in NYC were “largely peaceful and the actions of most police officers were appropriate,” but in the cases where things turned chaotic, events were plagued with “widespread allegations that police had used excessive tactics against citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Ultimately, the report found that most of the more than 2,000 New Yorkers who were arrested during demonstrations were peaceful protesters.
“But the problems went beyond poor judgment or misconduct by some individual officers,” the reports stated. “The department itself made a number of key errors or omissions that likely escalated tensions, and certainly contributed to both the perception and the reality that the department was suppressing rather than facilitating lawful First Amendment assembly and expression.”
Much of the criticism in the report was leveled at NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio—blaming his directives, in part, for why police oversight of protests was handled so badly in some instances. Interestingly enough, de Blasio appears to agree with the criticism.
“I read this report and I agree with it,” de Blasio said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “It makes very clear we’ve got to do something different, and we’ve got to do something better. I look back with remorse. I wish I had done better. I want everyone to understand that. And I’m sorry I didn’t do better.”
According to USA Today, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also addressed the report in a statement Friday.
“In general terms, the report captured the difficult period that took place in May/June of 2020 and presents 20 logical and thoughtful recommendations that I intend to incorporate into our future policy and training,” Shea said.
As promising as Shea’s sentiments sound, the DOI analysis noted that “NYPD leadership largely said they would not have done anything differently in their response, in retrospect,” USA Today reports.
Of the parts of the report that I reviewed, I’d like to point out one line in particular that stuck: “The fact that the target of the protests was policing itself does not appear to have factored into the Department’s response strategy in any meaningful way.”
Because that’s just it; there were so many instances in demonstrations across the nation this past summer where cops appeared to respond to protests against police violence by committing blatant acts of police violence.
Hopefully, the DOI report does improve policing practices in NYC, and police departments across the U.S. take note.