Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 23, 2019, but was updated on May 4, 2020, after arrests were made by the New York Police Department.
The New York Police Department has announced they have arrested two men accused of drenching on-duty NYPD officers with buckets of water after clips of the incident were circulating on social media. The officers were initially sent to break up the gathering after fire hydrants were open during the heatwave in Harlem and Brownsville.
23-year-old Isiah Scott was taken into custody earlier this morning and is being held at the 28th Precinct. 28-year-old Courtney Thompson, a known gang member on probation, surrendered to law enforcement officers at the 73rd Precinct and is accused of dumping the water. A third person is also expected to turn himself in.
In an “internal message to the rank and file,” NYPD told its officers they were not expected to tolerate having water thrown on them and that such behavior would never rise to crime unless the people were interfering with police work. The officers were also told that charges available to them would include obstructing government administration, harassment or disorderly conduct, and criminal tampering.
If the officer’s uniform was damaged, a criminal mischief charge would be applicable. If an officer was injured by water spray or any thrown object, the attackers could be charged with felony assault.
In one of the videos, an NYPD cop appears to get hit on the head with a plastic bucket while making an arrest of a suspect, while both officers are splashed. Drawing a sharp distinction between incidents, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan described one as a potential assault on a police officer doing his duty, while the other a failure of an officer to respond to a clear provocation.
Original Story Below
Viral videos have been circulating several social media sites, showing New York Police Department officers being harassed while on duty. The videos have prompted several official responses from the NYPD, as well as state politicians. They have been used as a method to communicate hostile working conditions the average offer in New York has to endure.
Since the clips were posted online, both NYPD Chief Terence Monohan and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have commented their opinion, denouncing the cruel acts of harassment that is depicted in the videos. One of the videos shows officers getting drenched as they walked on a Brooklyn street while attempting an arrest.
In another video, a man is seen hurling a bucket of water that hit an officer in the head, while groups of cheering bystanders can be heard reacting to people who continue to splash water on both officers. Chief Terence Monahan wrote a tweet about the incident, stating, “The videos of cops being doused with water and having objects hurled at them as they made an arrest in #Harlem is reprehensible. “NYC’s cops & communities have made remarkable progress — together — but EVERY New Yorker MUST show respect for our cops. They deserve nothing less.”
Following that tweet, he wrote about how the work NYPD Officers do every day is remarkable and encourages officers to use their discretion while making arrests when necessary. What is impressive about the whole situation, was the fact that both officers remained calm, despite them being physically harassed by several people on the street.
The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of the city of New York released a statement on the “Water Bucket’ Attacks, blaming the situation on lawmakers. PBA President Patrick Lynch stated, “Our anti-cop lawmakers have gotten their wish: the NYPD is now frozen.” He added that the vicious attacks were the result of the torrent of anti-police rhetoric and “bad policy that has been streaming out of Albany and City Hall for years.”
This just shows you how much lack of respect people have for those who try to keep them safe. Not only is this shameful and hurtful to watch, but it makes you question what other bumps on the road officers in New York City have to endure every day.