The NYPD arrested 345 people by early Sunday following heated protests over George Floyd’s death that saw police cars set on fire and violent clashes, police sources said.
Chaotic scenes erupted Saturday during the third night of protests, leaving 33 cops injured and 47 police vehicles damaged, sources said.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea praised the cops Sunday for their handling of what he called a “mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history.”
“What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind,” he wrote on Twitter. “It was not about civil disobedience. It was not about demonstrating against police brutality.
“What it was, quite frankly, was a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history, to co-opt the cause of equality that we all must uphold, to intentionally inflict chaos, mayhem, and injury just for the sake of doing so.”
Shea said he was “extremely proud” of how the officers responded — despite criticism from other officials after an NYPD SUV was caught on camera ramming into a group of protesters in Brooklyn.
“What you’ve endured these last couple of days and nights — like much of 2020, so far — was unprecedented,” he wrote. “In no small way, I want you to know that I’m extremely proud of the way you’ve comported yourselves in the face of such persistent danger, disrespect, and denigration.”
He went on to slam the vandalism left in the wake of the protesters, saying that that “willful destruction of property will never be a legitimate expression of outrage with injustice.”
“I only wish that those who castigate you from afar had the first-hand experience of being a New York City cop for just one evening. You and I both know that perspectives, opinions, and outlooks would drastically be changed as a result,” he wrote.
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