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The NYPD may be enforcing social distancing rules differently based on the color of your skin

When white folks break social distancing rules, they get handed masks. Meanwhile, black folks get beat up.

The NYPD may be enforcing social distancing rules differently based on the color of your skin
Image Source: zellieimani / Twitter

Whenever a new law is passed, all people of color can think about is how it will be used as a tool to oppress them further. When New York City introduced rules about social distancing, no one thought that they would be enforced differently based on the color of your skin. Surprise, surprise; the New York Police Department has been accused of treating white folks and people of color differently when they violate social distancing rules, The Guardian reports. In particular, after a video showing a police officer slamming a man to the floor and punching him surfaced online, several people have come forward to condemn the NYPD's actions.

 



 

In the video, an officer can be seen walking towards a man and hitting him several times in the face. He then proceeds to push him to the ground and kneel on his neck. The violent altercation reportedly took place following an argument about social distancing. According to Daquan Owens, a bystander who witnessed the incident and uploaded the video of the arrest to social media, the officer's reaction was completely uncalled for. "The guy that just got slammed to the floor and punched, he was just standing there saying, ‘They didn’t do nothing,’ and actually they didn’t do nothing," he said. "Nothing was going on, nothing provoked the cop. He just got up, pulled his Taser out... The cop, I guess he was frustrated and took his frustration out on the guy."

 



 

The officer in the video has been identified by the NYPD as Francisco Garcia. Since the incident took place, he has been stripped of his badge and gun. An internal review of the confrontation is also currently underway. In a statement, the NYPD explained that the reaction was incited due to social distancing protocols but quickly escalated because marijuana was observed at the scene. They claimed that that one person “took a fighting stance against officer [Garcia]." An official NYPD spokesperson stated, "A group was observed standing on the corner... in violation of social distancing orders. Officers instructed the group disperse and while most complies [sic], some refused. As officers approached, they observed a bag of alleged marijuana in plain view... A third individual was ordered by an officer to disperse and this male took a fighting stance against the officer and was also taken into custody."

 



 

 

However, the statement has been viewed as nothing but damage control as the NYPD has been notorious over the years for their racial profiling. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged the incident in a joint press briefing on Sunday. Commissioner Shea said, "It started out as a social distancing enforcement... I am aware of the video that’s out there. Mayor de Blasio added that he was “really disturbed” by the footage in a tweet on Sunday evening. The partial way officers of the NYPD are treating people of color became even more apparent when activist Zellie Imani presented a side-by-side comparison of how cops treat white people versus people of color.

 



 

 

In one photo, he presented a screenshot from the video where the officer is seen kneeling over the victim of police brutality. In the other image, cops can be seen handing masks to white people at a park. He wrote, "Same city. Same police force. Passing out masks to white folks not social distancing, while literally having their foots on our necks. This is beyond ridiculous at this point." And it is ridiculous. Even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, all law enforcement officers can see is the color of your skin. If the virus doesn't kill people, systemic racism definitely will.