Mayor Adams plans review of NYPD response to Brooklyn pro-Palestinian rally after cops punched protesters

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that his administration will conduct a “review” of the NYPD’s response to a pro-Palestine march in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn over the weekend after cops were caught on video punching demonstrators during the street protest.

The mayor didn’t say if the review will be conducted internally by the NYPD or if an outside entity will handle it; his office did not immediately return a request for clarity. Adams did say the review is standard procedure, and that his team does “an after-incident” briefing after every protest.

The mayor, who spoke in a string of early morning television and radio news appearances, also offered support for officers who responded to Saturday’s protest in Bay Ridge, saying they “did a commendable job under very difficult circumstances.”

Though videos emerged on social media over the weekend showing several officers punching protesters after pinning them to the ground during the “Nakba Day” march, the mayor said that footage doesn’t tell the whole story.

He noted that some protesters at the demonstration were seen in other videos released by the NYPD scaling a bus and throwing water bottles at officers. He also alleged some protesters tried to “take those who [were] under arrest away from the police officers.”

“That’s not acceptable, it’s not going to happen, and we’re going to protect the right to protest, but you don’t have the right to destroy the city,” he said in an appearance on Fox5.

Multiple videos posted on social media showed cops, some supervising officers in white shirts, repeatedly punching multiple protesters after tackling them to the ground to arrest them after marching in the street on Saturday. In one video, a protester is seen bleeding from his head.

Several Democratic elected officials voiced outrage over the police response over the weekend, saying it appeared unnecessarily aggressive.

According to the NYPD, 41 protesters were taken into custody during Saturday’s tumult.

Only two of them, a 20-year-old New Jersey resident and a 38-year-old Queens resident, were arrested and booked on criminal counts, including assault and reckless endangerment, while the rest were given summonses for lower-level charges like disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration, the NYPD’s press office said.

Saturday’s demonstration is part of a wave of protests that have erupted in the city in recent months against Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians. Israel launched the military incursion in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, in which the group’s militants killed some 1,200 Israelis and took hundreds hostage.

The Bay Ridge demonstration stands out from other recent local protests in that it has been held every spring for years to commemorate “Nakba Day,” marking the displacement of Palestinians that followed the declaration of Israeli independence in 1948.

Democratic Councilman Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, which is home to a large Arab and Palestinian community, wrote on X on Saturday that he was disturbed by the NYPD’s crackdown in his district.

“There has been a Nakba Day demonstration here every year for the past decade without incident. I saw no evidence of actions by protestors today that warranted such an aggressive response from NYPD,” he wrote.

Adams said Monday he was “really surprised” that Brannan questioned the NYPD response.

“That community is a community made up of veterans, it’s a community made up of civil servants and professionals, they don’t want their lives disrupted in the manner that we saw in the streets,” he said on Fox5.

Asked about the mayor’s comments, Brannan told the Daily News he stands by his initial assessment and noted that Nakba Day protests in Bay Ridge have been much larger in years past.

“Some years we’ve seen thousands of people, yet there were never issues like this,” he said. “Saturday was much smaller than in years past and PD response was disproportionate and preemptively aggressive.”

City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a progressive Democrat who frequently clashes with Adams, said the mayor’s defense of the NYPD’s Saturday response is part of what he sees as a broader problem about his rhetoric around the Israel-Hamas war.

“In NYC, what we needed was a leader in the service of humanity who could help us condem [sic] Oct 7th, demand the hostages be returned and then condemn the horrific response and demand a ceasefire,” Williams wrote on X.

“That’s not what we got. Instead, we got a mayor, who even now seemingly refuses to recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian pain who has allowed and encouraged … the concept that just the act of speaking up for Palestine and Gaza is an act of aggression and should be met with full force.”


(With Rocco Parascandola)