“The New York Timeshas looked over video footage showing the NYPD responding to protesters (some of which they gathered from Doucette’s feed) and found case after case of officers shoving, beating, and violently assaulting people who do not appear to be engaging in illegal behavior or, often, even resisting the police. They looked at 60 incidences of troubling behavior by NYPD officers in just the first 10 days of protests.
In one video, in less than a minute, the same police officer harshly shoves an unresisting protester to the pavement, pushes a cyclist, and then picks up and body slams a third protester who was standing and pointing at the gathered police officers as they were apparently breaking up a protest. In another, police beat a man on the ground after chasing him, and one even steps on the man’s neck, notable given that Floyd died from having an officer kneel on his neck for several minutes.
The Times looked over video of police just randomly lashing out and shoving people as they walked by them. They found a video of police officers slamming a man to the ground after he had been arrested and they were leading him away. They found video footage of an NYPD officer grabbing a man and hurling him into a parked car, but not arresting him, and just leaving his body on the street.
And despite the constant refrain from police that these are “isolated incidents,” the Times found behavior repeating itself and multiple examples of each questionably violent response from police.
The Times acknowledges that the videos lack full context, and we don’t see what happened before or after these violent outbursts. But they also note that the city’s policing guidelines order officers to use only the amount of reasonable force “necessary to gain control or custody of a subject.”
An NYPD spokesperson told the Times that four officers have been disciplined for their conduct during the protests in late May and early June, and the department is investigating 51 other instances of possible protest-related police misconduct. The spokesperson declined to actually watch or respond to any specific videos. The Police Benevolent Union that represents most NYPD officers also declined to respond to the Times.”
“”A lot of this was ‘street justice,'” Philip M. Stinson told the Times. Stinson is a criminologist at Bowling Green University and a former police officer who focuses on studying police use of forces. He saw many of these cases as “gratuitous acts of extrajudicial violence doled out by police officers on the street to teach somebody a lesson.” He described some of the tactics he saw as “sloppy” and “downright criminal.””