New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said late Saturday evening that a video of an NYPD car driving into a barrier with protesters behind and knocking them over was "upsetting."
"I wish the officers hadn’t done that," he added, but noted there was context to the footage.
“Look, I’ve seen that video, and I’ve obviously heard about a number of other instances -- it’s inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers. That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protest in this city,” de Blasio said. “I’ve been watching protests for decades. People don’t do that. And so it’s clear that a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles, and if a police officer is [in] that situation they have to get out that situation."
He added that "the video was upsetting, and I wish the officers hadn’t done that. But I also understood that they didn’t start the situation. The situation was started by a group of protestors converging on a police vehicle, attacking that vehicle, it’s unacceptable."
The mayor said he wouldn’t blame the officers themselves.
“I’m not going to blame officers who were trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation. The folks who were converging on that police car did the wrong thing to begin with, and they created an untenable situation. I wish the officers had found a different approach, but let’s begin at the beginning. The protestors in that video did the wrong thing to surround that police car, period.”
The mayor also said that he will not order a curfew for New York City.
“The fact is there’s very few people out protesting at this point," he told reporters around midnight. "The NYPD has been addressing the situation. There’s over eight million people in the city and the people out right now number in the hundreds, and they’re being dealt with by the NYPD."
The mayor will address the media again Sunday at 10 a.m. local time.