Wounded, bruised protesters testify to decry New York City police violence

NEW YORK: Dana Kopel testified that New York City police kicked her in the jaw and bound her wrists so tightly with zipties her hands turned blue, leaving one hand numb with nerve damage weeks after she marched through the Bronx to protest the killing of George Floyd.

Jeffrey Castillo displayed cuts on his knees, bruises on his arms and a scar on his shoulder he said was caused after six officers knocked him off his bike while he chanted against police violence in Manhattan's West Village.

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One by one, some of the protesters who have filled city streets since Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody in May described being injured by New York Police Department officers at a virtual public hearing called by state Attorney General Letitia James, which spilled into a second day on Thursday (Jun 18).

Michael Sternfeld said police knocked him and other protesters to the ground while chasing them out of a Brooklyn park on Jun 3 for defying an 8pm curfew, scenes that were captured in cellphone videos.

"Shame on you, to all the NYPD, for acting like childish bullies, a gang of cowards with weapons and shields to hide behind and badges to justify their action," Sternfeld told the hearing, which was streamed online because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea have defended the NYPD's response to protesters as mostly proportionate, saying misconduct was limited to isolated cases that were being investigated.

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Both have pointed to several nights of looting that marked some of the earlier protests, widespread property damage and instances of protesters hurling projectiles at police officers, injuring them.

READ: New York's Cuomo calls for police reforms in wake of George Floyd's death

READ: Commentary: So much wrong in US response to George Floyd protests

In late May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was alarmed by "disturbing violent clashes" between NYPD officers and protesters, and appointed James to investigate and produce a report within 30 days.

The hearing was a chance for protesters to share their anger with investigators at their treatment by police during protests that have become daily occurrences in New York and dozens of other cities after Floyd's death.

James said she had received hundreds of written submissions from protesters and cellphone videos of armored police hitting people with batons and pepper spray.

Elected officials and civil rights groups also testified, the majority criticizing whatRead More – Source