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Democrat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded on Monday that a police officer who appeared to pull a gun on a crowd have “his gun and badge taken away today” and face consequences for the alleged actions. However, hours after de Blasio made the remarks, additional video footage surfaced that showed that the police officer was responding to his supervisor being struck in the back of the head by a violent rioter — something that was left out of the initial video clip that went viral.
Jake Offenhartz, a reporter with the Gothamist, posted the misleading video on Twitter, writing: “A source shared this video, which he says he took at around 10 pm near near 12th and Broadway. It appears to show an NYPD officer pointing a gun at protesters outside the Strand.”
A source shared this video, which he says he took at around 10 pm near near 12th and Broadway. It appears to show an NYPD officer pointing a gun at protesters outside the Strand pic.twitter.com/pCTNIYL7op
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) June 1, 2020
The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York tweeted out a full length version of the video that appeared to come from the same person who was recording it.
NYC PBA tweeted: “Now we have the full story: this police officer unholstered his weapon only after his supervisor was nearly killed with a brick.”
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) June 1, 2020
De Blasio brought up the incident during a press conference on Monday, saying that the officer’s actions were “unacceptable” and “dangerous.”
“There’s a video going around of a police officer in the middle of a situation that admittedly looked chaotic but where protesters were in front of that police officer,” de Blasio said. “That police officer drew his gun at some point yesterday. That to me, seeing that video was absolutely unacceptable. Now, I don’t know all the circumstances and we must know all the facts. There will be an immediate full investigation of that incident.”
“But I can say as a New Yorker, as your Mayor, as someone who understands that the vast majority of protestors are there peacefully, and even those who do have that violent intent are still human beings,” de Blasio continued. “We have to always know it is not the place of an officer to pull a gun in the middle of a crowd knowing that there are peaceful protesters in that crowd that is unacceptable. That is dangerous. I want you to note on that video how a superior officer immediately came over and moved that officer away from that crowd. That officer should have his gun and badge taken away today. There will be an investigation immediately to determine the larger consequences.”
Numerous media publications reported on the incident based on the incomplete version of the video clip that was posted, including NBC News, CNN, ABC News’ “World News Tonight,” and The New York Daily News just to name a few.
The misleading video went viral on Twitter racking up millions of views and being commented on by notable accounts, including “People for Bernie,” a organization that supports socialist Bernie Sanders.
The organization wrote on Twitter: “[Mayor de Blasio] says to fire him, but watch the video. A white shirt, likely his supervisor, walks over and pats him on the back. He should’ve been removed immediately and gone home. The descalation practice that officers just learned from that is our leadership approves of this.”
.@NYCMayor says to fire him, but watch the video. A white shirt, likely his supervisor, walks over and pats him on the back. He should’ve been removed immediately and gone home. The descalation practice that officers just learned from that is our leadership approves of this. https://t.co/JS0KvsOv0W
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) June 1, 2020