A video clip showing a New York City Police Department officer pointing his sidearm into a group of protesters sparked an outcry from the news media and the city’s top leader, with demands for the cop’s job following the footage.
Unfortunately for those who rushed to judge this officer, a recording of the entire encounter appears to vindicate him.
The original 20-second clip went viral shortly after it was posted to Twitter late Sunday night.
In the video, an NYPD officer is seen drawing his firearm before pointing it toward various parts of a crowd during a protest of George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police. The footage has been viewed over 2.7 million times so far.
A source shared this video, which he says he took at around 10 pm near near 12th and Broadway. It appears to show an NYPD officer pointing a gun at protesters outside the Strand pic.twitter.com/pCTNIYL7op
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) June 1, 2020
Knee-jerk reactions to the out-of-context video started popping up over social media.
Some posts called the officer a “terrorist,” while others contrasted the officer’s apparent escalation with that of the “peaceful” protesters.
Watch Terrorist NYPD Cop Point Gun at Unarmed Peaceful Protestors Who Are Only Protesting Because of Cops Like Him Who Seem to Have No Problem Murdering Unarmed Black People (Tweets-Vids) https://t.co/nz3hYeOxDQ pic.twitter.com/WJWvrRjl7E
— Robert Littal (@BSO) June 1, 2020
Add “pointing a gun at protesters” to the list of things that don’t fall under “protect and serve.”
Threatening deadly force is an abuse of power and the opposite of a de-escalation tactic.https://t.co/fVABtUtFEf
— NYCLU (@NYCLU) June 1, 2020
The footage even prompted a reaction from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“There’s a video going around of a police officer in the middle of a situation that admittedly looks chaotic, but protesters were in front of that police officer, that police officer drew his gun at some point yesterday,” de Blasio said, according to the New York Post.
“That, to me, seeing that video, was absolutely unacceptable. … I want you to note on that video, a superior officer immediately came over and move that officer away from that crowd, that officer should have his gun and badge taken away today.” (Emphasis added.)
While the mayor admitted he didn’t have all the facts, the discovery of an even longer video of the encounter hints at just how foolish de Blasio’s rush to judgment was.
The new footage was posted less than 24 hours after the first clip.
“Now we have the full story,” the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York wrote alongside the new video, adding that “this police officer unholstered his weapon only after his supervisor was nearly killed with a brick.”
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) June 1, 2020
Thanks to the cameraman behind the film, we can now see that the officer wasn’t pointing his gun around in an apparent fit of rage but was responding to an active threat that could have killed a fellow cop.
Shortly before the service weapon was drawn, the footage shows a rioter throwing a brick at an officer’s head. The cop’s helmet might be all that saved him from a life-shattering injury.
“If he wasn’t wearing a helmet, he’d be dead or paralyzed,” a police union leader told the New York Daily News.
While protesters demonstrating against Floyd’s horrific death deserve to have their rights respected by officers, those rioting and looking to harm Americans should be held accountable for their crimes.
With unrest in New York City appearing far from over, this isn’t likely to be the last cop to find himself in the crosshairs while doing his job.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.