NY State Senator John Liu Witnesses Police Charge at Protesters for No Apparent Reason
By Carl Samson
June 2, 2020
A state senator in New York has witnessed first-hand how police officers advanced at a crowd of peaceful protesters twice on Sunday night.
John Liu, who represents the state’s 11th senate district — a broad area of northeast Queens — said he was pushed aside in the ensuing ruckus, which knocked “a lot of people” over.
Liu told Spectrum News NY1 that the squad of officers charging first at Broadway and Church St., and then at 11th St., toward a “chanting crowd but sedate otherwise.”
The state senator managed to film one of such events, which saw at least one protester get pinned down by the authorities.
“Inexplicable surge by police into crowd. I’m watching from 20 feet (6.1 meters) away,” Liu tweeted.
In follow-up videos, police can be heard ordering people to disperse or be subject to arrest. Liu noted that the young crowd wanted to go to Union Square Park, which was only three blocks away.
“By holding the youth here at 11th and Broadway, the crowd is only getting bigger,” Liu wrote. “No one [is] escalating but the threat to arrest is unnerving and the accusation of violence is unfounded.”
Liu subsequently shared more videos showing events prior to the police charging “for no reason.” He recalled one looter breaking into a SoHo store, who was then chased by protesters.
New York City has seen protests over the death of George Floyd, and more broadly, police brutality for five consecutive nights. On Saturday morning, Liu blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio for supposedly enabling tensions to escalate.
“They escalated. And you know who is accountable for that? The mayor himself. De Blasio needs to apologize for what happened here last night,” Liu told reporters, referring to the violence at the Barclays Center on Friday night.
In a joint statement, De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced curfews from 11 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday, and then from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to ABC7 News NY.
“I stand behind the protesters and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to distract and discredit this moment,” Cuomo said. “The violence and the looting has been bad for the city, the state and this entire national movement, undermining and distracting from this righteous cause. While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised.”
De Blasio stated, “I support and protect peaceful protest in this city. The demonstrations we’ve seen have been generally peaceful. We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment. It is too important and the message must be heard.”
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