Brooklyn, NY – Three New York Police Department (NYPD) officers were injured on Aug. 18 when community members turned on police who were breaking up a gathering at the Marcy House apartment project.
Several hours of chaos erupted after police responded to the annual “Marcy Day” celebration at about 11 p.m. on Aug. 17 for complaints about a large group of drunk people, the New York Post reported.
Things got violent after officers tried to make an arrest.
NYPD said the crowd turned on them, and bottles and other debris were thrown at and dropped on officers from the Marcy House rooftop and windows, the New York Post reported.
Police deployed pepper spray in an effort to disperse the crowd but the people got even more hostile and unruly at that point.
One of the officers who was injured was head-butted by a teen whom police caught with a can of pepper spray, the New York Post reported.
Guillermo Lopez, 17, was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer for the head-butt.
At about 12:15 p.m., somebody on a rooftop fired six or seven gunshots into the air, causing officers to run for the roofs of the buildings to try and make an apprehension.
Then the crowd broke up into smaller groups that continued heckling and taunting police for a few more hours.
Officers made four arrests over the course of the evening and issued 11 citations for disorderly conduct, the New York Post reported. The last arrest was made at almost 3 a.m., the New York Post reported.
The three officers who were injured were taken to the hospital for treatment.
One officer had to be carried off on a gurney by medics and another required 12 stitches in his arm, the New York Post reported.
A bystander posted video of the incident to Instagram that showed people who had been pepper-sprayed standing on sidewalks having milk poured in their eyes as more police arrived and headed into the fray.
“How are cops supposed to do our job in this environment? When will @NYPDNews or @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio stand up & say enough is enough? Chaos is running the streets. This is outrageous — we’re lucky it wasn’t worse,” the police union posted on Twitter.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was conspicuously absent in the wake of the melee, the New York Post reported.
The mayor spent that weekend campaigning for President in other states and finally tweeted about the near-riots in Brooklyn late on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s really simple: anyone who attacks our NYPD officers WILL be caught and WILL pay the consequences,” de Blasio posted. “An investigation is underway into last night’s incidents in Brooklyn. If you have ANY information, please contact the NYPD IMMEDIATELY.”
But NYPD sources told Blue Lives Matter that the mayor’s tweet is an empty threat from him and said the problem with attacks on police officers – like the water assaults on police officers in recent weeks – is that people have been emboldened by de Blasio’s anti-police rhetoric.
They also said that they expect the frequency of assaults on police to increase because the mayor and NYPD Police Commissioner O’Neill have set them up as targets by failing to lead the department.
He told Blue Lives Matter that the leadership’s words and actions have told the criminal element in the community that officers can’t do anything in return when they’re assaulted.
At a press conference that Monday after the commissioner announced the firing of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with the death of Eric Garner, Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said the police department is completely “rudderless.”
Officer Pantaleo was cleared by a grand jury and a federal investigation but Commissioner O’Neill fired him anyway at the recommendation of an administrative trial judge.
“Turn the flag upside down - we’re in distress,” Lynch said. “The captain has jumped ship,” Lynch continued. “The mayor told him to do it. And the streets are falling to chaos.”