A video circulating on social media shows New York City Police Department officers breaking up a crowded funeral procession on Thursday, two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had instructed the NYPD to summons or arrest people gathering in large groups.
In the video, officers chased a minivan that carried the body of a deceased rabbi through the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, The Associated Press reported.
NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell told the AP a 17-year-old boy was taken into custody and issued a summons for disorderly conduct during the altercation.
Video shows NYPD officers sprinting after a hearse (and tripping over themselves) during a chaotic funeral in Borough Park earlier today. At least one arrest, police said. https://t.co/jdyRoIQP85 pic.twitter.com/jXbKT2UdlW
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) April 30, 2020
Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder, who represents the neighborhood, responded to the confrontation, saying, “Stop the chaos now.”
“Terrorizing people by sending in armies of cops during such stressful times is not helpful at all,” he tweeted. “@NYCMayor – we need real leadership.”
Terrorizing people by sending in armies of cops during such stressful times is not helpful at all. @NYCMayor – we need real leadership. Stop the chaos now
— Senator Simcha Felder (@NYSenatorFelder) April 30, 2020
The chaos in the street came two days after de Blasio had responded to a crowded Williamsburg funeral for a different rabbi, Fox News reported. He visited the site of the funeral and issued a warning on Twitter.
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” he tweeted.
“I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping the disease and saving lives. Period.”
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 29, 2020
After people accused the mayor of anti-Semitism, he apologized for his tweet.
“I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people a feeling of being treated the wrong way, that was not my intention,” de Blasio told reporters, according to The New York Times.
“It was said with love, but it was tough love.”
Responding to de Blasio’s tweets, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz urged the Justice Department “to closely monitor New York City” for potential religious discrimination, the AP reported.
New York has banned gatherings of any size for any purpose in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
As of Friday morning, 308,314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York state, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
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