New York – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday rejected calls to abandon the practice of police enforcing social distancing rules, despite an incident captured on video in which an agent shoots the I floor a civilian.
De Blasio described the incident that occurred on Saturday as “extremely worrying” and “totally unacceptable”, but insisted that it was an exception amid “tens of thousands of interactions between police and civilians last week that have occurred without any problem.”
The officer in the video was stripped of his badge and pistol and assigned to administrative duties while the investigation is ongoing.RELATED
New York police dispatched 1,000 officers to patrol the streets and make sure people are respecting social estrangement, on a mild-climate weekend. In addition, in the coming weeks, they will be distributing 7.5 million protective masks.
“It is impossible to fully protect the population without the help of the police department, and the police department is fully capable of helping,” de Blasio said.
In the video, policeman Francisco García, dressed in civilian clothes, slaps Donni Wright, a 33-year-old resident, punches him on the shoulder and drags him from the street to the sidewalk. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell noted that Wright “assumed a combat pose” when the police officer asked him to disperse.
A few minutes earlier, police officers had arrested two other people in that same block because they apparently disobeyed orders to keep their distance.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday that police officers obtained a stun gun at the scene, apparently owned by one of the civilians, a small amount of marijuana and about $ 3,000 in cash.
“Exactly what was happening there is something that is still under investigation,” Shea said.
Joo-Hyun Kang, director of the Communities United for Police Reform civil group, said: “It is the public health professionals and community organizations, not the police department, that should be responsible for educating New Yorkers about the importance of social distancing ”.
Tina Luongo, a lawyer from the Legal Aid Society, said that “the city must reconsider these incidents of supervision of social distancing that lead to conflicts with the use of stun guns and physical assaults.”