(Natural News) Four policemen, including New York City’s top uniformed police officer, were injured on Wednesday after protests on the Brooklyn Bridge turned violent when some protesters attacked police with “some kind of stick or pole.” Police arrested three people in relation to the clash and charged them with assaulting police officers.
The latest altercation between police and Black Lives Matter protesters happened during a unity march staged by faith leaders, law enforcement and citizens. The group gathered at Cadman Plaza in downtown Brooklyn to march against violence in the city and for deeper conversations about racial justice and police reforms.
As the diverse group started to march up the Brooklyn Bridge, the police asked them to stop because of an emergency incident. The protesters complied and broke into prayer, according to a CBS2 report. This was when rioters – or so-called counter-protesters – descended into the unity march and proceeded to walk into traffic and block vehicles on the bridge. In a statement, the rioters said that they felt that the ongoing march was too supportive of the police.
NYPD chief of department Terence Monahan and other officers tried to arrest a person who attempted to disrupt the unity march, said police spokesman Lt. John Grimpel. As the officers were making their arrest, a group of rioters gathered near the officers.
In a video clip released by the NYPD, a person wearing a purple shirt rushed toward the group and swung a long instrument twice at the police, and ran away. The video showed at least one police officer reaching for his head, which could indicate he had been struck.
The police department has condemned the “violent attack” and warned that violent displays toward the police would not be tolerated.
Three officers violently attacked by protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The officers sustained serious injuries.
This is not peaceful protest, this will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/cYuDX8G7ku
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 15, 2020
The so-called counter-protesters, who identified themselves as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, accused the police of “setting them up intentionally.”
“They didn’t want a counter-protest. They didn’t want democracy,” said a counter-protester. “They didn’t want freedom [at] this moment.”
Despite the altercation, the unity march was able to continue and proceed to City Hall. (Related: Shooting incidents in New York City surge – NYPD unable to solve them due to ineffective governance and “anti-police sentiment.”)
Clash leaves police officers injured
The NYPD released photos of the incident, as well as the resulting injuries. In some of the photos, officers were shown bleeding from head injuries. Monahan was among the injured, as he sustained a sprained hand as a result of the scuffle.
“I’m OK. Some of my cops aren’t in as good a shape as I am. They’re still out sick,” he added. “You know, my sergeant took eight staples in his head and Lieutenant Mack from our bike unit, he had a broken orbital bone. So, we were injured. It was a pretty violent fight on the bridge yesterday.”
Police have arrested and charged three people in response to the riots: Shayborn Banks, 25, for assaulting a lieutenant; Quran Campbell, 25, for assaulting three officers; and Chanice Reyes, 24, for two counts of assault on a police officer. The NYPD did not specify who among the suspects assaulted Monahan.
The city’s sergeants union has since criticized the attack, which comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed police reform measures, including a ban on chokeholds and increased transparency.
“What we are seeing right now is chaos in the city of New York and the victims are minorities,” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “If the mayor were doing his job properly, we wouldn’t have these issues. If the DAs were prosecuting the laws, we wouldn’t have these issues.”
In a statement, the state troopers union is now asking state police to remove troopers stationed in New York City.