Cops Who Rammed Squad Cars into Protesters Should be Charged, Says Oversight Agency
The cops who used their squad cars as deadly weapons to plow into a crowd of protesters during the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020 should face disciplinary charges, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has declared.
Two members of New York’s finest, officers Daniel Alvarez and Andrey Samusev, used unlawful force when they rammed their NYPD SUV into the crowd, striking Aaron Ross, who was one of thousands protesting in the streets of Brooklyn on May 30, just five days after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
Now, almost two years later, the oversight agency has substantiated the allegations against those officers and is recommending discipline, according to Gothamist, which obtained and first reported on the letter sent to Ross about the ruling of his case.
— Pierre G. (@pgarapon) May 31, 2020
Activists and pols at the time were quick to call for those cops to be held accountable. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the officers to be “brought to justice.”
But former Mayor de Blasio claimed to not have seen the video, which sent shockwaves throughout the city. He also said at the time that protesters should not have surrounded the NYPD squad cars.
NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings. They could‘ve killed them, &we don’t know how many they injured.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 31, 2020
A spokesperson for the CCRB could not comment on the letter, citing the still-active case that will now head to the
agency’s Administrative Prosecution Unit. And whether or not the officers will actually face discipline — including anything from a few lost vacation days or full termination — is up to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who retains sole power over punishment, despite efforts to reform the police disciplinary process.
The CCRB’s letter to Ross also said named another officer, Arthur Roldan, who abused his authority by threatening force, and damaging an individual’s property, the agency said.
Separately, Ross filed his own lawsuit against the NYPD for the same incident, in which he charges that the officers “intentionally or negligently, carelessly, and recklessly” drove their car into barricades that struck him. That lawsuit is pending, according to court records.
The horrifying incident of cops driving into protesters was just one of the many incidents of aggression perpetrated by officers in the wake of the murder of Floyd. Cops also inappropriately used their bicycles as weapons, a crucial, but less-heralded aspect of a bombshell report issued in late 2020 by the Department of Investigation that called out the NYPD for its misuse of force.
Former DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said that the police in general, and the controversial Strategic Response Group specifically, abused their power, and misappropriated their bicycles as weapons against peaceful protesters.
“In the report, we do talk about the policy of training the SRG in particular using barricades, using bicycles. It’s a complex issue, those tactics and techniques are appropriate in some circumstances, but it’s a different question, ‘Were they used appropriately in these circumstances?’” Garnett said at the time. “Our general finding is those tactics were overused in a disproportionate way.”
And that report also followed a coalition of local pols who demanded that the NYPD stop using their bikes as weapons to violently prevent protestors from peacefully marching in the streets.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment and City Hall declined to comment. But earlier in the week, Mayor Adams suggested that Black Lives Matter protesters don’t really care about fighting crime.