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Pepper spray, beatings and arrests was police response to protests

A 15 year old high school student has milk poured onto his face after being pepper-sprayed by police at Barclays Center. Photo by Thomas Hengge

At the George Floyd protests in New York City, when push came to shove, verbal taunting and the throwing of water bottles by demonstrators was met with pepper spray, baton beatings and arrests by police. In other words, excessive force.

Rather than de-escalate, officers fired pepper-spray into crowds as a means of dispersion instead of using it for its purpose, which is to neutralize hostile threats. Unofficial medics on the scene, identifiable by the red tape crosses on their arms, carried baking soda and milk, dousing demonstrators to help ease the burn of the spray. Using police brutality to shut down protests calling for an end to police brutality left kids as young as 15 and women as old as 50 caught in the crossfire.

On the ground, throughout the city, the NYPD’s response to unarmed protestors throwing eggs and other debris quickly went from defensive to offensive, using side streets to flank demonstrators before beating them down indiscriminately.

In addition to the brutish tactics of the police officers on foot, NYPD bicycle officers used their bikes as weapons, bulldozing protestors to the ground before arresting them.

A protestor reacts to the burn of pepper-sprayed after being hit at Barclays Center. Photo by Thomas Hengge

A woman has milk poured into her eyes after being pepper-sprayed at Barclays Center. Photo by Thomas Hengge

An NYPD officer attempts to grab a protestor. Photo by Thomas Hengge

An NYPD bicycle officer charges a protestor with his bike during a clash in the East Village. Photo by Thomas Hengge

A person is arrested after clashing with police in the East Village. Photo by Thomas Hengge

Field medics aid a man after being pepper-sprayed at Barclays Center. Photo by Thomas Hengge

A woman is aided by a fellow protestor after being pepper-sprayed in the East Village. Photo by Thomas Hengge

A man is arrested at Union Square. Photo by Thomas Hengge

Police clash with protestors after flanking them in the East Village. Photo by Thomas Hengge

Pete, 15, after being pepper-sprayed by police at Barclays Center. Photo by Thomas Hengge