Adams defends the NYPD’s handling of pro-Palestinian protests

Mayor Eric Adams on Monday defended the NYPD’s response to a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brooklyn last weekend, refuting claims that officers were overly aggressive when arresting protesters.

The protest in Bay Ridge Saturday was organized in honor of Nakba Day, which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Videos of the demonstration showed violent clashes between police and demonstrators, with some protesters being pushed to the ground and punched repeatedly by officers.

What you need to know

  • Mayor Eric Adams fully defended the NYPD’s actions during a chaotic pro-Palestinian demonstration in Brooklyn
  • Adams said officers at NYPD posts dealt with an unruly crowd, with some protesters attacking officers
  • NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Operations Kaz Daughtry said 41 people were arrested during the protest

NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Operations Kaz Daughtry said 41 people were arrested during the protest, adding that the demonstration was “not considered by some to be a peaceful protest.”

Daughtry said some protesters spit on officers and threw water, lit firebombs and rode on the roof of an MTA bus. A third of those arrested had “a prior arrest history for other non-peaceful protests,” he added.

However, both Brooklyn City Councilman Justin Brannan, whose district includes Bay Ridge, and the head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, spoke out against the NYPD’s response, with Brannan saying he saw “no evidence of actions by protesters today that justified such action. aggressive response from the NYPD.”

In a social media post, Brannan said Nakba Day demonstrations have occurred annually “without incident for the past decade” in Bay Ridge. He also speculated that NYPD leadership had issued “a ‘zero tolerance’ edict that “escalated everything and made it worse.”

In her own statement, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said the “aggressive escalation by the NYPD Strategic Response Group (Saturday) in Bay Ridge violated New Yorkers’ right to speak out and risks political expression is chilled.”

“NYCLU protest observers witnessed violent arrests, injuries to protesters, and even arrests of credentialed members of the press,” Lieberman said.

In response to Brannan’s comments during an interview on “Mornings On 1” Monday, Adams said he and Brannan “must have been watching two different protests.”

“We all have the right to protest. You have no right to ride a bus. You have no right to spit at police officers. You have no right to disobey lawful orders,” he said. “That was a complete disruption to the Bay Ridge community.”

“I take my hat off to the police for how they dealt with an unruly group of people. And looking at the numbers, more than 30 people arrested do not live in the Bay Ridge community. In some cases they did not even live in the city,” he added. “And so there has been a good job done by the police in dealing with a very volatile situation.”