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Bill de Blasio says NYPD investigating claims of rough tactics

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that suspensions and disciplinary actions will be announced by the NYPD, after officers were accused of using excessive force against George Floyd protesters. 

'You will see change in this city. You will see change in the NYPD. We simply have not gone far enough. The status quo is still broken, it must change,' the mayor said at a press conference on Friday. 

'This will be the work for the next year and a half of this administration: To make more change, to make it urgently, to make it powerfully, to make it clear,' he continued. 

'And that work will proceed immediately. And you will see those results and you will judge for yourself, as all New Yorkers do.' 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that suspensions and disciplinary actions will be announced by the NYPD, after officers were accused of using excessive force

A protester is arrested on Fifth Avenue by NYPD officers during a march Thursday in the Manhattan borough of New York. Police have been detaining and arresting curfew violators

Police officers arrest people for breaking the curfew as they continued to protest demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice over the death of George Floyd on Thursday

The mayor continued to try to walk a tightrope between appeasing protesters and avoiding alienating the NYPD, which he has had a sometimes difficult relationship with in the past. 

In recent days, protesters have accused the NYPD of using aggressive tactics to disperse crowds after the city-imposed curfew.

There have been several incidents when police detained essential workers or journalists for curfew violations, even though they are exempt from the city's 8pm curfew. 

De Blasio said there are adjustments that continue to need to be made to the NYPD response to peaceful protests, but praised the department's 'overall restraint levels.'

The mayor there have been occasional instances of police behavior that needs to be reviewed by NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea (center) stands with Reverend Kevin McCall and First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker at a news conference this week

Protesters in violation of an 8pm curfew take a knee on Flatbush Avenue in front of New York City police officers during a rally on Thursday

'Each night we see – certainly several – situations that raise real questions. Individual instances where our officers have taken action that raises a valid concern,' he said. 

'In each and every case, there must be a full investigation, and where discipline is warranted, it needs to be speedy,' the mayor said. 

'The vast, vast majority of officers do their job, do it right. But when someone does something wrong, as in all of our society, there must be consequences. Commissioner Shea made it clear yesterday, disciplinary action is about to be announced, some will include suspensions of officers. There's a lot going on.'

Regarding the curfew, he said 'the broad goals' of ending property destruction and violence had been achieved, so far.

'The last three nights, I think, have shown obviously a very marked improvement, compared to those very two troubling nights before that came out of nowhere and were absolutely unacceptable,' de Blasio said. 

The curfew will end Monday morning at 5am, the same day that New York City is set to enter Phase 1 reopening from pandemic lockdown.

Police arrest a protester during a rally after curfew had gone into effect, Thursday in New York

Demonstrators march down 34th Street in Midtown on Thursday in violation of city curfew

On Thursday, de Blasio spoke at a memorial for George Floyd, with the crowd booing and heckling from the moment he arrived, shouting over him as he urged that Floyd's death not be in vain.

De Blasio's appearance in front of the 10,000-strong crowd came shortly after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said several days and nights of demonstrations in the state could accelerate the spread of the coronavirus, and urged protesters to get tested.

De Blasio received an icy reception at the vigil in Brooklyn, with some of the speakers taking shots after videos on social media the night before showed NYPD officers using batons on peaceful demonstrators.  

They immediately booed de Blasio as he walked across the stage and chanted: 'De Blasio go home!' and 'Vote them out!' 

'We have too much to change in this city and this country,' he said. 'We will not be about words in this city; we will be about change.' 

The Democrat mayor said: 'For all of us who have not walked a mile in the shoes of the black community, or communities of color, all of us who know white privilege, we need to do more, because we don't even fully recognize the daily pain that the racism in this society causes.' 

The mayor left shortly after delivering his speech and later addressed New Yorkers again on Twitter.  

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