In response to a viral video of a Bronx man putting an officer in a headlock, which outraged police unions, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said there is “a lot to do to heal the relationship between police and the community.”
“That starts with standing together and advancing reforms, but it also means we cannot accept violence against our police officers,” de Blasio added in a tweet on Sunday night, with a link to a story about the wild incident.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted the video on Saturday, triggering a tsunami of criticism and calls for resignation over the mayor’s failure to address the crime wave, and plans to ‘defund the police’, amid nationwide anti-racism and police brutality protests.
The skirmish occurred on July 1 in the Bronx, when a pair of officers were trying to arrest a suspect who resisted being put into their police car, while the crowd was bullying and taunting the officers. When one of the officers charged to detain another man, the suspect put him in a headlock or chokehold – a controversial tactic for which police are often criticized, and which is about to be banned in New York City.
After a short struggle, the suspect brings the cop to the ground and runs away, as the crowd continues to cheer and shout profanities.
The officer suffered a gash to the head that required several stitches, and while many people online condemned the attack on law enforcement, some found twisted ‘irony’ in a situation where a controversial chokehold was used against an officer.
Meanwhile, it emerged that the suspect is a known gang member who turned himself in a week later, according to the NY Post, but wound up being released without any charges, pending further investigation by the Bronx DA’s office.
“The violence against the police officer speaks for itself,” an NYPD spokesperson said, after the incident went viral. “We are now in discussions with the district attorney regarding the case.”