The Guardian’s Ankita Rao, reporting from New York, on the mayor’s controversial late-night statements:
Mayor Bill de Blasio took to the podium on Saturday night to tell protestors across the city that they were “heard, loud and clear”.
But the response from some New Yorkers made it clear that they felt otherwise.
Over the course of two days, thousands of protesters swarmed through the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens – holding signs, wearing masks and stopping traffic – to call for justice for the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd, and the countless other black men and women at the hands of the police.
The protests were angry yet largely peaceful, but several videos and documentation of police arresting minors, brutalizing protesters and at one point, driving their car into crowds, surfaced as well. One woman was filmed being pushed over by cops, before she went into a seizure and was taken to the hospital.
In response, de Blasio’s main message appeared to be to keep the NYPD safe, and that violence against the police would not be tolerated. He told people they had made their point and should go home, and blamed the agitation on outsiders coming to the city. Notably, de Blasio responded to questions about the police vehicle driving into protestors with a flippant, “they shouldn’t have done that” and complained about damaged vehicles.
The speech was a stark departure from Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, who described how she felt when she watched Floyd’s killing, saying she “hurt like a mother would hurt” in a speech to her city, or Muriel Bowser, the DC mayor, who called out Donald Trump for hiding “behind his fence afraid” and said she stood with the people exercising their first amendment right.
De Blasio sounded little like the mayor of a city with a long and bloody history of officers brutalizing people of color. His promise of change was vague and unemotional, and tucked away in the litany of patronizing rhetoric toward city protesters.
Some New Yorkers on Twitter slammed his livestream, and called on him to resign. Meanwhile, sirens still blazed throughout Brooklyn, where he was giving the speech, as small fires were set in trash cans.
New Yorkers are planning to protest again tomorrow in Queens.
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