Speaking to CNN on Wednesday evening, New York police commissioner Dermot Shea praised the peaceful protesters and said he was “disgusted” with the video of the death of George Floyd.
“We have had incredible crowds in recent days, and by far, overwhelmingly, these are people who have spoken out, expressing their concern,” he said. “These are very small groups (doing) vandalism, violence, things like that. “
He added that the police “were trying to have as soft a touch as possible, to hear people, to see people. We continue to reinforce that we respect the right of people to assemble peacefully. ”
The situation in New York: There are still thousands of people on the streets, he said – mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, even though the curfew time is past 8 p.m. There is also some activity in the exterior boroughs and many groups are in motion and in motion.
There have been a few arrests, but far fewer than in recent days, he said. No incidents of looting were reported tonight, but he warned that “the night is still young, it is a fluid situation.”
On the excessive force of the police: Asked about several incidents in the past week in which NYPD officers saw excessive force during the protests, Shea said that each case was under investigation by the police’s internal affairs office.
“This is a systematic problem. It’s about racism, it’s about opportunity. And I think on the law enforcement side we are well aware of this on the executive side and in leadership positions, “he said.
He also referred to the video that captured the last moments of George Floyd, saying that it “made me sick, it made my stomach turn … It was just a disregard for human life.”
“Anyone who watches this video and is not at your feet, I don’t know if you have a conscience,” he said.
He added that he had already worked to create changes in policy and procedures, and that broader societal change was needed.
“We really need to do a little more and change the culture … If that doesn’t show us that we have to do better as a society, now is the time to come together. “