Monday’s Headlines: Show of Force Edition

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The only story this weekend was the police over-response to protesters decrying police killings of unarmed black men.

We did a broad overview of the NYPD aggression (story 1) and one about an MTA bus driver refusing to assist police in their arrests (story 2). By Sunday, our coverage shifted to Mayor de Blasio’s conflicted response: The mayor appointed two City Hall insiders to investigate the cops, but also claimed that the protesters were anarchists who came in from out of town to agitate (story 3). We also did a story (4) about how the mayor truncated a statement by the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus to make it look like its members were backing him up when, in fact, they really weren’t. We even had our editorial cartoonist Bill Roundy graphically demonstrate the mayor’s failure (story 5).

Other outlets obviously had wall-to-wall coverage (with reinforced walls), including:

  • The City Council wants the mayor’s “investigation” to be truly independent. (NYDN)
  • Gothamist’s and the New York Times’s all-weekend live blog provided neighborhood-by-neighborhood coverage. And amNY‘s rolling coverage was solid, too.
  • For sheer quantity of stories, no one beat the Post’s Metro section, but Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz was a one-man wrecking crew, posting many, many gripping videos of police violence.
  • The Daily News published another video of police using their squad cars as battering rams — but this one was slightly more sympathetic to the cops, who were fleeing violence, but not doing so in a very safe manner.
  • Politico’s coverage played up the mayor’s “anarchist” claim.
  • The New York Times suggested that the police cars did the violence rather than the poorly trained, afraid people driving the cars. But by Sunday, the Paper of Record’s Dana Rubinstein and Jeff Mays did a nice look at Mayor de Blasio’s “conflicted” response to the police violence.
  • Buzzfeed had lots of reactions to the mayor and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea’s Sunday press conference.
  • Guse of the Newsuh took a deeper dive on the national movement of bus drivers to not help local police officials transport arrested protesters.
  • Ben Max of Gotham Gazette took down the mayor in an epic Twitter thread. Harry Siegel also offered a takedown in the Daily News. Everything you need to know is right there in the lede: “Mayor de Blasio, yet again making a bad situation worse with his profound planning and messaging failures…”
  • The City did a broad overview from across the many areas of town that were embroiled. And the same outlet also did a must-read history of the law, known as 50-a, that keeps cops’ disciplinary records sealed.
  • Two videos emerged of police showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee — first in Jamaica (NYDN, NY Post) and later in Foley Square in Manhattan (Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz). But the Post also had a story about a cop who pulled off a protester’s coronavirus mask so he could pepper-spray him.
  • Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris will take all the campaign money he’s gotten from police unions and law enforcement groups (about $11,000) and give it to a bail fund for arrested protesters (NY Post). Um, but why was he taking police union money in the first place?

Of course, there was some other news over the weekend:

  • More Citi Bike e-bikes are coming. (Gothamist)
  • And, finally, we don’t usually spotlight broader issues about urban life beyond the street level, but the New York Times opinion page has published two standout columns recently about the challenge of working from home that should inform all our understandings of what kind of city this will be after the pandemic recedes: