Amid massive protests in cities across the country, many of which turned violent on Saturday night, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said President Trump has “helped to create this atmosphere.”
“I can tell you this, and this is the blunt truth, the president of the United States helped to create this atmosphere, and that’s the tragedy here,” the mayor said on Saturday. “It doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, doesn’t matter what you think of President Trump, there’s been an uptick in tension and hatred and division since he came along. It’s just a fact.”
“And it’s not the reason for any specific act, but it has helped to poison the atmosphere. So, we gotta’ get back to leaders talking about unity.”
“We always talk about respect for peaceful protest, respect for communities, respect for different points of view, and obviously that’s not been the tone set from the top in Washington, and that’s one of the reasons we’re in this mess we’re in,” de Blasio said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 30, 2020
More than 345 people were arrested in New York City on Saturday night during a violent anti-police brutality demonstration, which de Blasio called a “tense” night for police officers.
In a late night press conference on Saturday, the mayor addressed a viral video showing police vehicles driving through a crowd of protesters throwing water bottles and other objects.
“The video was upsetting and I wish the officers hadn’t done that, but I also understood that they didn’t start the situation. The situation was started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle. It’s unacceptable,” the mayor said. “It’s inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers. That’s wrong on its face,” de Blasio said during a press briefing.
“A different element has come into play here,” de Blasio said of the protesters involved. “Trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles — if a police officer is in that situation they have to get out of that situation.”
De Blasio also encouraged the peaceful protesters in the city. “Peaceful protesters, if you’re out tonight… we hear your issues, the need for justice, real change. If you went out, you have been heard,” de Blasio said just before midnight.
But he warned that anyone out to “create violence … will get arrested tonight,” he added.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had a different view.
“NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings. They could’ve killed them, & we don’t know how many they injured,” she wrote on Twitter. “NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings. @NYCMayor these officers need to be brought to justice, not dismissed w/’internal reviews.’”
NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings. They could‘ve killed them, &we don’t know how many they injured.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 31, 2020
Author: Joseph Curl