De Blasio Vows Tighter NYPD Oversight After Protest Missteps

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to adopt stricter police oversight after an internal investigation found widespread instances of excessive force during street protests last summer over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Officials and police who don’t make changes will be removed, de Blasio said at a Friday news briefing discussing a report on police tactics used during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The mayor had requested the probe by the city’s Department of Investigations.

“I’m taking my responsibility for mistakes that were made,” de Blasio said. “If there’s anyone in leadership of the NYPD who does not accept these changes, then they shouldn’t be in leadership.”

The police department’s most flagrant abuses included indiscriminate baton and pepper spray use, inconsistent enforcement of curfews and excessive crowd control that heightened tensions, the report said.

NYPD did have legal authority to make arrests for curfew violations to stop suspected looting, but they ended up arresting many who were not involved in criminal activity, the report said.

Investigators found that some officers tried to hide their badge numbers and that enforcement decisions were often based on faulty intelligence and poor training. Police actions also often lacked a sense of proportion, the report said.

“We accept the recommendations,” de Blasio said in an apology video posted on Twitter. “We’re going to implement them right away. And in this season of reflection we’re going to reflect on what we did right and wrong, and do better.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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