New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday defended his daughter, who was among those arrested in the city over the weekend in protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, as workers swept up broken glass outside Manhattan luxury stores damaged by those not protesting peacefully.
Chiara de Blasio, 25, was among those arrested Saturday night. The mayor said he wasn’t made aware of the incident until after he held a news conference on Sunday, rejecting a claim from a reporter that he hadn’t been transparent.
The arrest report, first obtained by the New York Post, said she refused to leave a Manhattan street cleared by officers because people were throwing things. Chiara de Blasio, who is black, was later given a court summons and released.
The mayor admitted Monday he and his wife, Chirlane, were taken by surprise by the arrest, but said he respected his daughter’s restraint.
“I admire that she was out there trying to change something she thought was unjust and doing it in a peaceful manner,” he said.
De Blasio said his daughter is committed to “peaceful protest.”
“She believes a lot of change is needed. I’m proud of her that she cares so much that she was willing to go out there and do something about it.”
For the third day in a row, protests took place across New York City over the May 25 death of Floyd — a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.
There were gestures from police officers earlier Sunday intended to show sympathy with marchers. Some officers knelt with protesters in an intersection as an organizer called out the names of people killed by police.
But the New York Police Department has come under criticism for other interactions with demonstrators over the weekend, including a confrontation in Brooklyn on Saturday when two police vehicles appeared to plow through a group of protesters.
Looting in Soho
New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, appearing alongside the mayor, said the protests on Sunday were “overwhelmingly peaceful,” but that there had been a marked shift, particularly in Manhattan, around 9 p.m.
“We had very minor issues until it got dark yesterday,” he said.
Workers boarded up a Chanel store in Soho, one of many in the historic district known for cobblestone streets and cast iron buildings, where people smashed windows and grabbed merchandise overnight.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of arrests in a very short time in that area,” Shea said earlier Monday on NBC’s Today.
A 21-year-old man was shot in the neighborhood around 12:30 a.m. and was taken to a hospital, police said. They said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Mobs of people rampaged down the sidewalks in Soho and other neighbourhoods including Union Square, breaking into Rolex, Kate Spade and Prada boutiques as well as electronics stores.
WATCH l De Blasio on Sunday had stern words for some police, protesters:
De Blasio has rejected the idea of a curfew to help quell the protests, like those adopted in other major U.S. cities.
Shea said he didn’t think a curfew would work.
“We could impose a curfew today,” he said. “The problem is, people need to listen to a curfew and that’s not going to happen. If people think it will, they don’t understand what’s going on.”
Nevertheless, de Blasio said it was still an option and that he would discuss it further on Monday with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
De Blasio on Sunday credited police for “tremendous restraint,” but appointed two city officials to review incidents caught on video, including an officer ripping a man’s mask off to spray his face with a chemical and the two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators in Brooklyn.
2 lawyers accused of throwing Molotov cocktail
Meanwhile, two New York City lawyers, one of whom went to Princeton, the other to New York University Law School, were hit with federal charges that they threw a Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied patrol car Saturday.
Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, both of Brooklyn, are accused of targeting a police van. They were charged under a federal statute regarding the use of fire and explosives to cause damage to a police vehicle and each face 5 to 20 years in prison if convicted.
WATCH l Scenes from protests across the U.S.:
They are expected to make a court appearance on Monday.
Elsewhere in New York, hundreds of people helped clean up Sunday after shop windows were shattered and vehicles torched in Rochester and Albany and Buffalo.
Cuomo has said the National Guard is on standby and that hundreds of additional troopers were made available to upstate cities.