NYPD commissioner faces questions from state attorney general about protest response
The NYPD's top officer was questioned by the state attorney general Monday as part of her review into confrontations between police and protesters.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea defended his officers on Day 3 of a state probe into how the department has acted during protests that occurred in the wake of George Floyd's death.
"As police officers were trying to do their job, they were attacked with bricks, knives, trash cans, cars, glass bottles and other projectiles," said Shea. "Department vehicles were set ablaze and precinct houses were attacked. This was some of the worst rioting that occurred in our city in recent memory."
Shea's testimony came after 17 hours of prior testimony from protesters detailing a litany of alleged police abuses during demonstrations. Among them was East Islip native Douyna Zayer, who was seen being pushed the ground by an NYPD officer.
When state Attorney General Letitia James grilled Shea about the incident, he acknowledged the officer crossed the line. The officer, who hails from Long Island, is facing criminal charges over the incident.
"It was not (an appropriate use of force)," says Shea. "That's why i took the action I did and I took it swiftly."
Shea acknowledged that up to 10 officers face discipline for their actions during protests, but pushed back at some claims of officer wrongdoing.
James asked Shea about a video showing two NYPD vehicles hitting demonstrators on May 30.
"What would you do if you were set upon and your life is in danger? And I think that description of running over peaceful protesters, I don't think is being fair," said Shea.
Shea said nearly 400 officers were injured during the protests, and more than 100 have not yet recovered.