Protests calling for justice in the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was killed when he was put into a chokehold by a police officer this summer, continue today at various locations around the city after a weekend of mostly peaceful demonstrations. On Saturday, more than 25,000 people joined the Manhattan march from Washington Square Park up to Midtown and back down to the NYPD police headquarters shouting chants like,”no justice, no peace, no racist police.”
Whereas previously cops were using sound cannons and barricades to break up crowds and prevent them from growing larger, this weekend officers chose to abide by a noticeably more hands-off approach than was seen earlier this month, when hundreds of people were arrested. Yet the NYPD is increasingly taking on its own strategy of issuing public statements of disapproval.
On Friday, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the NYPD union, released a statement on their website worthy of a scorned middle schooler. The PBA called on their members to fill out a form requesting that, in the event of their death in the line of duty, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito not be invited to their funeral. The site reads:”Don’t let them insult your sacrifice!” The PBA points to the officials’ “consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve.”
The City Council Speaker and de Blasio released a statement together calling the PBA’s announcement “deeply disappointing.” As of Friday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton had not yet announced his position on the PBA’s reaction.
However, more police officers and at least one precinct have joined the PBA in condemning the protestors. The day after reports of a scuffle between “a breakaway group of protesters” and two NYPD officers, that left the two unnamed law enforcement officials injured on Saturday night, @NYPDnews, the department’s official Twitter account connected the protests with the incident and announced that an arrest had been made. The incident reportedly occurred in the early evening on the Brooklyn Bridge.
And today, the commanding officer at NYPD at Midtown’s south precinct tweeted a thinly veiled suggestion that civilians’ input into the activities of police officers is not at all welcome: a meme bearing Jack Nicholson’s face and quoting the actor’s famous line from A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!” The post has since been removed.