New York – New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson released the following statement regarding Mayor de Blasio and the New York Police Department’s failure to respond appropriately to the protests that have swept the city in recent days.   “The Mayor has lifted the curfew, but we cannot simply turn the page and forget the horrors we witnessed over the last week. The right to protest is central to our democracy, and the steps the Mayor and NYPD took last week were destructive to those rights. We demand an end to the dangerous policing tactics we’ve seen during these protests.” 

“We have decades of global data-driven research on how to effectively manage protests to de-escalate conflicts and prevent violence and looting, which the Mayor and NYPD flagrantly ignored. New Yorkers should have been given space to express their outrage and pain at police brutality against Black people. Instead, protests against police brutality were met with more police brutality.” 

“The results were predictable. The Mayor and the NYPD doubled down on a flawed strategy, falsely conflating looters with protesters and imposing a misguided curfew. The NYPD used inflammatory ‘kettling’ tactics on nonviolent protesters that culminated in charging at New Yorkers with shields and batons. They arrested essential workers and legal observers. They hassled journalists and made it difficult for them to do their job. They inexplicably confiscated bikes. We heard reports of police covering their badge number and saw for ourselves that many refused to wear masks. And despite the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, protesters were arrested in large numbers and detained indefinitely before seeing a judge.”    “The response from the Mayor and the NYPD inflamed the protesters’ pain and outrage and plunged our city into chaos, deepening the divide between police and community. In the last week, they have made it clear they are unwilling to learn from past mistakes or change their tactics.” 

“It’s time to de-militarize the NYPD’s approach to protesters and rethink our entire approach to policing. We will begin doing this by making changes that are long overdue, including in our upcoming budget by making substantial cuts to the NYPD and reinvesting that monies in communities of color and young people.”   

“Going forward, we can and must do better as a City.”