Those are the two words we’ve heard ad nauseam from the media and politicians about the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
By the way, that description is entirely accurate. And, to the extent that there are issues with certain violent protesters, those aren’t reasons to stop the demonstrations or condemn them in toto; taking to the streets in order to demand redress for political or social grievances is a God-given right enshrined under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Now, quick — apply that logic to those protests against the lockdowns.)
However, on the left, “mostly peaceful” means ignoring the not-peaceful contingent taking to the streets in order to loot and assault, which is politically expedient if logically curious.
Drivers on the nation’s highways are mostly sober, but that doesn’t mean we should do away with breathalyzers. Malaysia Airlines flights mostly don’t disappear, but odds are you wouldn’t have heard of the flag carrier of the world’s 45th-most-populous country if it weren’t for a very specific outlier.
In terms of the protests, one of the most egregious outliers happened on Wednesday morning. It wasn’t hidden away in some corner of the country, but instead occurred on one of America’s most renowned landmarks.
And it looks like it may not have been spontaneous either.
According to The Associated Press, at least four New York City Police Department officers were injured Wednesday during a clash on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The injured officers included Chief of Department Terence Monahan, who knelt in solidarity with protesters last month.
Two separate marches — one by anti-police activists and another helmed by pro-police demonstrators, including local clergy — apparently met in the area of the pedestrian walkway on the New York landmark. The pro-police group, marching under a banner reading “We Support the NYPD,” was protesting a recent explosion of violence in the city, including the shooting death of a 1-year-old in a stroller in Brooklyn.
Warning: The following video and photos contain violent and graphic content that may disturb some viewers.
Video showed one of the anti-police protesters “rushing toward a group of officers and reaching over a fence to smack one of them in the head with a cane,” according to the AP.
Three officers violently attacked by protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. The officers sustained serious injuries.
This is not peaceful protest, this will not be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/cYuDX8G7ku
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 15, 2020
And here’s what happened to some of the police officers, who had been marching with the pro-law enforcement activists:
These are the injuries our officers sustained. pic.twitter.com/KI9wQKywHH
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 15, 2020
The AP wasn’t quite as focused on the injuries suffered by police officers, however.
“It was not clear how many protesters were injured,” Wednesday’s report read. “An Associated Press photographer witnessed several people getting roughed up by police, including a woman who ended up on the pavement with an officer pulling on her hair.”
Now, this qualifies as bad but not egregious. The problem is that the violence may not have been an impromptu thing.
Surveillance video reported on Thursday by the New York Post appears to show that anti-police protesters received “a small shipment of bats” outside of City Hall before the clash.
“Police sources said the bats were delivered so the anti-cop activists could confront a ‘unity’ rally proceeding over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan,” the Post reported.
Now, here’s a short list of entities I can safely say, given the tumult our country has experienced in recent weeks, can reasonably be said to carry an infinitesimal risk of violence when they engage in protest marches:
- A “unity” march consisting of clergy and others revolted by the recent spate of violence that’s overtaken their city.
That’s it. There you go.
Now, in most circumstances, both sides of protests can be counted upon to be “mostly peaceful” — and either way, if you feel the need to gird yourself with bats before you go into a protest, you shouldn’t be protesting.
However, girding oneself for people protesting against violence doesn’t necessarily sound a whole lot like self-defense.
It seems pretty clear that the bats were delivered to anti-cop protesters, although it’s not yet known whether they were used in anger on the pro-police demonstrators. The NYPD did recover one bat after the melee, police sources told the Post
“They said they did it peacefully,” Tony Herbert, one of the organizers of the pro-police march, told the outlet.
“How do you do it peacefully when you have somebody swinging a cane?”
They don’t. They do it “mostly peacefully.”
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