Civil rights groups are asking for oversight hearings into the NYPD’s policing of protests after cops’ tactics at an immigration demonstration drew criticism last week.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Communities United for Police Reform and others say City Council hearings should also probe the role of the Strategic Response Group, created in 2015 to handle large protests as well as anti-terrorism security.
Cops’ tactics at the protest drew rebuke from activists.
“Last Thursday, the public witnessed a shocking display of undue violence by NYPD officers against nonviolent protesters,” said Jin Hee Lee, deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Eighteen people — including Council members Jumaane Williams and Ydanis Rodríguez — were arrested at the protest after the feds detained immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir.
The pols say cops were needlessly aggressive, and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who said he also got shoved by an officer, called the actions of some ICE and NYPD officers “completely and totally unacceptable.”
Immigration rights activist Ravi Ragbir was detained at the protest.
Councilman Donovan Richards, who last week became chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said he plans to schedule a hearing after meeting with Police Commissioner James O’Neill in the next week.
“It is a top priority for me,” said Richards (D-Queens). “I’m interested in digging much deeper into what is NYPD protocol, and seeing more transparency . . . There’s going to be more protests over the course of the next four years, and we want to ensure that the NYPD is respecting people’s civil liberties.”