Mayor de Blasio Continues to Characterize All Protests as Peaceful, Despite Evidence to the Contrary

Mayor de Blasio Continues to Characterize All Protests as Peaceful, Despite Evidence to the Contrary

   This morning at the daily press conference of Mayor Bill de Blasio, many reporters tried to question the contrast between his insistence that New Yorkers only participate in “mostly peaceful protests” and other people’s fears that chaos might ensue if election results take days or even weeks to count, or simply if the results do not make groups of voters happy.

   One reporter suggested the sight of plywood that so many store owners have placed in their windows belies a stark contrast to the mayor’s optimistic rhetoric about what may happen in the city in the coming days.

   “What do [these boarded up storefronts] say about the faith that people have in their police department and in the capacity of the city to maintain order in the months following the demonstrations, where looting just went on, almost unpunished throughout the city?” asked one reporter, who said that he thought the plywood in stores reveals a lack of faith New Yorkers have in the NYPD to maintain order in times of unrest. 

     As is his practice whenever a reporter suggests that not all New Yorkers would characterize the protests that started in New York this summer as “peaceful,” Mayor de Blasio refused to acknowledge the reality of the reporter’s question. Instead, the mayor questioned the seriousness of the reporter’s observation that business owners are nervously preparing for a potential onslaught of violent protests. 

   Despite the fact that Macy’s and other large stores in Manhattan have boarded up there stores, the mayor told the reporter who felt disheartened at the sight of plywood in so many stores’ window that “he may be reading more into it than there is.”

   While the city told business that they did not need to board up their stores, or if they did, it was up to their own discretion, the city did, the mayor admitted, advise business owners to bring in any merchandise that was out on the street, despite the fact that just last week, the mayor initiated his Open Sidewalks Initiative to allow for safer and more leisurely shopping in New York during COVID.

   Echoing the mayor’s sentiments that New York City’s protests in 2020 have been “mostly peaceful,” Deputy Mayor J. Philip Thompson, compared this year’s protests very favorably to those he experienced in in 1967 and 1968, when he said 80 cities burned down.

    “If you look at how people responded in New York and across the country actually as the mayor said, it was extraordinarily peaceful,” Thompson said.

    But not everyone would describe the vandalism, the looting, the graffiti, the punches thrown, the rock and egg-throwing at Jews for Trump, and the Trump flag cutting down in Boro Park as “peaceful.”

   Just last week, one week ago today, many residents in Brooklyn reported feeling terrified and described the feeling in the streets as “dangerous” when Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets to protest the death of Walter Wallace, Jr. 

   Among the reports of violence were 39 businesses that were vandalized, many car windshields were shattered, many police cars damaged, and multiple police officers hurt.

   Kathryn Wylde, the CEO and president for the Partnership for New York City President said that she saw photos “the destruction” that night in Downtown Brooklyn, and she said that “police were discouraged from actively enforcing the law.”

   Today, the mayor repeated what he said yesterday, that city was "ready for every eventuality, but there's nothing specifically showing up at this moment that causes alarm."

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

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