“#NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea ignores his own ‘misinformation’ warnings”
“We are living in a toxic time. One that relies increasingly on the selective use of a combination of things: some facts, misinformation, rumor, false conclusions that can be drawn from all of them, sometimes spill over into social media or mainstream media,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea Thursday.
Shea’s condemnation came just hours before police cracked down on a Bronx demonstration described by reporters as peaceful just after the 8 p.m. curfew — and despite Shea’s previous claims that police could go into protests “like a surgeon and a scalpel and make a correction or make a couple of arrests and allow the larger group to continue.”
And the next morning, the city’s top cop was offering a startling narrative — and challenged a reporter’s account — to justify the forceful breakup of demonstrations in The Bronx.
The commish said cops ended the rally because the group was “about tearing down society” — and those involved were caught “bringing a gun and gasoline and weapons to the scene… that’s actually what happened.”
Any innocent people who were caught up in the crackdown, it was on them for putting themselves in the crosshairs of planned violence, Shea said.
But that isn’t actually what happened.
The gun arrest happened a half-mile away nearly three hours before the protest was broken up, and no gasoline was ever recovered, officials later clarified.
At about 5:20 p.m. — not 6:30 p.m. which police said Friday — cops arrested an alleged gang member and his girlfriend with a .357 Magnum about a half-mile from the stepping-off point for the rally, which was organized by the anti-police group Decolonize This Place.
The only connection to the protests, according to the NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller, was the relative proximity, and separate intel connecting the man to potential Trinitarios Gang activity in Manhattan later that night.
A trio was busted two blocks from the rally moments before the start with a random assortment of tools — including a hammer, sledgehammer, a firework, wrench, tire iron, knife and lighter fluid — after cops stopped a 2008 Ford pickup with Texas plates for an open container, according to the affidavit.
One of the suspects, a 25-year-old from Queens, even told a detective “I was going to smash a window with the hammer or hit a police officer with it on the helmet,” the affidavit reads.
All three were hit with misdemeanor charges for carrying “burglar tools” and possession of a weapon and released with a future court date after appearing before a judge, court records show.
Miller pegged the police breakup to Decolonize This Place’s anti-cop rhetoric, saying cops feared more firebombing of police vehicles — and the “rapid succession of events… factored into the decision to stop the protest, because, you know we know what we have found but we don’t know what we haven’t found.”
No gasoline was found and no other weapons were recovered two hours later when 260 people were arrested nearly a mile away after cops cracked down on the curfew.
A majority were given class-B summonses for violating the mayor’s executive order and an unknown number were arrested on charges of “unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct,” including one who “attempted to throw a wheel barrel [sic] at an officer,” police said.
Reporters at the scene described the protest as peaceful. No one at Decolonize This Place responded for comment.
Still, the mayor repeated Shea’s gasoline claims the day after the protests.
“There was a specific pre-announced threat of violence and then people appeared at the protest with weapons and gasoline… it is absolutely incumbent upon the police to make sure that does not proceed because we won’t tolerate violence.”
Shea has also repeatedly claimed — without evidence — that four bright blue bins of bricks were placed “strategically” by “organized looters” in Gravesend, Brooklyn last week — miles from the epicenter of looting in Manhattan.
The rhetoric startled residents in Gravesend, according to the neighborhood’s City Councilman Mark Treyger.
The brick rumors also led to cops holding a pair of construction workers for questioning who were driving down the FDR with pallets of red bricks on Friday.
“I couldn’t believe he put that out there,” a police source told The Post of Shea’s claims.
Cops still have no evidence that the bins of bricks had any connection to looters, but police officials say they’ve seen people loading bricks into backpacks at construction sites.
Neither the NYPD nor City Hall immediately responded to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks
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