A law enforcement advocacy group dared the Democrat responsible for running America’s largest city to test his own directive for authorities to respond passively to violent protests on the front line.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) recently invited New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to see what happens when law enforcement officers adopt his gentle approach to dangerous riots following a controversial death in custody.
“If Mayor de Blasio wants a light touch then let him stand in front and take the first brick to the face,” SBA President Ed Mullins said on Twitter.
Mullins suggested an alternative option if the mayor prefers to stay away from open spaces. “Perhaps he can sit in a police vehicle and catch the molotov cocktail that is thrown into it,” he said. “Here is the light touch, de Blasio brain.”
The remarks came after mass demonstrations took place in Brooklyn and many other cities, resulting in the arrest of more than 200 protesters.
The unrest started after the May 25 death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who the responding police officer allegedly handcuffed and used a knee on the suspect’s throat. After being restrained for several minutes, Floyd reportedly became unresponsive and was later confirmed dead.
The mayor strongly criticized the alleged act, demanded the responsible officer be charged, and instructed the New York Police Department (NYPD) to take a “light touch” approach to those who decide to protest.
“The anger out there is real and unfortunately, very justified,” he said according to AM New York Metro. “I really believe that the NYPD knows how to handle protests and respect whoever is protesting but I want to see a light touch because people are undeniably angry for a reason.”
He later stressed that nobody would be mistreated simply for participating in a nonviolent demonstration.
“Our police officers have been given a very clear instruction: as always, respect peaceful protest,” he said on Twitter. “We in this city have a long history of respecting every kind of viewpoint, that is the essence of New York City.”
He also promised to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the Brooklyn protests to find ways to prevent a repeat incident.
“We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn,” de Blasio said on Twitter. “Our sole focus is de-escalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We do not ever want to see another night like this.”