Two men and a known gang member have been arrested after videos emerged of people drenching New York cops with water over the scorching weekend that boasted temperatures in the upper 80s with a humidity level around 60 percent.
The first video that went viral showed a group of young men dumping water on everyone in sight in Harlem on Sunday, including an ice cream man still inside his truck. As one woman tried talking to the police from the outside while they sat in their patrol car, men continued dumping buckets of water on her.
The harassment did not stop there. The two cops stepped out of their car to make an arrest, but the group of men still felt emboldened enough to douse them with water and even throw a bucket at one of their heads.
The New York Police Department made a statement Tuesday, saying the cop who was hit with the bucket "suffered pain and swelling to the back of his head."
The second video, posted on Monday and seen by thousands on Instagram, shows two officers in Brooklyn calmly, and remarkably, walking away from a group of people that seem to be drenching them with water.
The woman recording the video can be heard saying, “They came over here to talk to them and they [the group of people] violating, they violating them.” A man can be seen running up behind one of the officers to dump a bucket of water over his head.
According to police, that man is a 28-year-old known gang member and was arrested this morning.
Two more men, including a 23-year-old, are also in custody in regards to the Harlem incident.
“Actions like we’ve seen in videos recently will NEVER be tolerated in this city. YOU WILL BE ARRESTED,” New York Police Department Chief Terence Monahan tweeted.
While many online commentators complimented the cops for not responding with violence, Monahan said the cops’ passive behavior deserved reproach.
"Any cop who thinks that that's all right, that they can walk away from something like that, maybe should reconsider whether or not this is the profession for them," he said at an NYPD awards ceremony held Tuesday. "We don't take that."
According to a senior NYPD official, the police involved in the videos "should have taken action and they'll be reprimanded for not doing so."
CNN obtained an internal department memo that outlined how officers should handle a situation like the one seen in the videos.
The memo states that one could be charged with obstruction of governmental administration and harassment in the second degree, criminal tampering in the third degree, disorderly conduct and possibly second degree assault if they spray an on-duty officer with water.
"I just think there's a time for voices to be heard with reason, to say that's not acceptable. And if it was done to anyone, we would be here," said Councilman Paul Vallone. "Justice is justice for all and that's what we're saying."
Lingering anger over Eric Garner
However, some raised the question of who exactly is included in “justice for all.”
Underneath a tweet Monahan made calling the actions seen in the video “reprehensible” and ordering “EVERY New Yorker” to “show respect for our cops” because “they deserve nothing less,” an account under the name “Copwatch Brooklyn” did not share the same views.
“Stop with the [expletive]. The relationship with NYPD and the community has not been good at all,” they wrote. “People are sick and tired of the NYPD brutalizing and murdering people. Shut Up and Arrest Your Own. Oh yeah, Fire #Pantaleo.”
The Department of Justice decided against charging NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner last week.
It was the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death, which also marked the end of the statute of limitations that would have given Attorney General William Barr the option to indict Pantaleo and the other officers involved in Garner’s death.
“I have watched that video many times, and each time I’ve watched it, I’m left with the same reaction: that the death of Eric Garner was a tragedy," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue announced last Tuesday. “The job of a federal prosecutor, however, is not to let our emotions dictate our decisions.”
After five years of investigations, the Justice Department decided there was not enough evidence that established “beyond a reasonable doubt that officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of federal law,” Donoghue said.
Garner was known to sell untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island and had been arrested multiple times in the past. That was why police attempted to apprehend him in July 2015.
He died after pleading for air, shouting, “I can’t breathe,” while Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold. The Staten Island grand jury decided against indicting the cop even after an uproar from the community erupted.
Fast forward to present day New York City and local officials and community members still do not agree with how Garner’s case was handled. City Council’s Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive Caucuses sent a joint letter to Police Commissioner James O’Neill ordering Pantaleo be immediately fired, names of every officer involved in Garner’s death be released and more transparency from the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The 2020 presidential candidate has not received much support from either side of the argument. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and current attorney for President Trump, tweeted his disdain for Blasio Wednesday.
“This disrespect for the uniform in NYC is result of a Democrat-Progressive (Retrogressive)-Socialist Mayor,” he wrote. “This is what happens with knee-jerk disrespect for police. It will only get worse until these Left wing idiots are defeated.”
“When you disrespect our NYPD officers, you disrespect ALL New Yorkers. We don't tolerate that in our city,” Blasio bit back. “The truth is crime's NEVER been lower in New York City and that's because we're bridging the divide between police and communities — a divide @RudyGiuliani helped create.”
Statistics prove that New York’s crime rate has continued to decline since De Blasio took office in 2014, however, New Yorkers still seem to have an issue with the mayor for many reasons.