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.