The Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) of the NYPD shot back at Mayor Bill de Blasio over comments that he expects officers to use a “light touch” with protesters following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
Police and protesters clashed in Brooklyn on Friday night, with more than 200 protesters arrested. De Blasio appeared on WNYC for his weekly Q&A and responded to questions from reporters about his own administration's failings, particularly in dealing with police violence.
“The anger out there is real and unfortunately, very justified,” de Blasio said. “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.”
The comments quickly circulated social media, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) of NYC, which boasts a membership of “approx. 13,000 active and retired sergeants of the NYPD,” directly criticizing the mayor.
“If Mayor DeBlasio wants a light touch then let him stand in front and take the first brick to the face. Or perhaps he can sit in a police vehicle and catch the Malatov Cocktail that’s thrown into it,” the SBA tweeted. “Here’s the light touch, DeBlasio brain!”
De Blasio has made only a few comments, with his first on Friday not directly addressing the situation but merely saying there will need to be a “review.”
“We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn. Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe,” de Blasio tweeted late Friday. “There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don’t ever want to see another night like this.”
De Blasio has separately criticized President Trump, citing an “uptick in tension and hatred and division since [Trump] came along.”
However, the mayor has yet to recognize the difficulties his administration has faced regarding how it responds to issues with the police. While the mayor responds in support of protesters, his administration is often slow to react to controversy.
It was under de Blasio’s administration -- before President Trump even took office – that the deaths of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley occurred, two of the several incidents that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.
The officer who applied the fatal chokehold on Eric Garner remained in his job for five years before finally facing consequences.