New York’s top cop says he’s unconcerned about criticism over his tweet that “justice is served” with the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd.
“Is that in the Twitterverse?” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea asked on NY 1 Wednesday when asked about the blowback he received for his tweet concerning the ex-Minneapolis cop found guilty on all counts Tuesday.
“I don’t give it much credence,” Shea said of the negative responses. “I’m not too concerned on what’s on Twitter.”
Chauvin was infamously caught on camera with his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, sparking outrage and helping further fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Justice has been served,” Shea tweeted after the verdict. “NYPD will be out tonight to ensure that peaceful demonstrations have the ability to proceed safely.”
His comments drew backlash from Twitter users saying his NYPD cops make protesting unsafe.
“Remind all members of the NYPD that driving vehicles into crowds doesn’t fall under the umbrella of ‘keeping us safe,’” Twitter user Vinney T wrote in response. “Some of you forgot that last year.”
“You have got to be kidding me,” Jane Sigda wrote on Twitter. “How many lawsuits are you facing for keeping us ‘safe’ last summer? What do you know about justice?”
State Attorney General Letitia James sued the NYPD over its heavy-handed, sometimes violent response to last year’s George Floyd protests.
No arrests were made Tuesday night as hundreds marched in Brooklyn and Manhattan celebrating the guilty verdict.
In an interview on “Good Day New York” Tuesday morning, Shea said his officers learned a lot from last year’s protests and were prepared for all eventualities as the Chauvin trial went to the jury.
“We feel we are much better prepared this time around. We all remember what happened last May and we don’t want a repeat of that on any level,” Shea said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Shea said Chauvin showed “no regard for human life.”
“I’m glad that’s behind us to one degree but as many of the speakers said yesterday, it’s a first step,” Shea said. “It doesn’t bring George Floyd back. It’s bittersweet. There’s a lot of thoughts here, but all in all it was a very peaceful night in New York City.”
Shea’s sentiments were shared by the head of the Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, who said Chauvin’s kneeling on Floyd’s neck “was not policing.”
“It was murder,” PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement. “The jury has spoken and he will face consequences for his actions.”
“Now it’s time for an honest discussion of policing and public safety that begins with the real challenges we face on our streets,” Lynch added.
Meanwhile, advocates for police reform gathered outside of police headquarters Wednesday claiming that Mayor de Blasio shouldn’t be tweeting about the Chauvin trial or any other case outside the city given the number of cops who have gone unpunished after killing people of color in the five boroughs.
Protesters pointed to the April 2019 shooting death of Kawaski Trawick, 32, inside his Bronx apartment. The mentally ill man charged at police with a knife in his hand and was Tased then shot, police said.
Last August, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said the cops involved — Officer Brendan Thompson, who fired four shots, and Officers Herbert Davis, who based on video of the incident implored his partner not to fire — would not be criminally charged.
The NYPD recently cleared the officers, noting “there was no discipline as no wrongdoing was found,” but critics, including the family’s lawyer, Royce Russell, says police escalated the situation and killed a man they should have helped.
“We ask everyone: Look at the video of Kawaski Trawick and tell me why these officers are still on the force? Or why they didn’t contain and isolate and close the door,” Russel asked. “Why did they force and escalate a situation that need not be. Answer us that.”
The advocates, which included Communities United for Police Reform, also decried the murder acquittal of Officer Wayne Isaacs for killing Delrawn Small in an off-duty road rage incident in East New York in 2016. Isaacs was also cleared by the NYPD but the Civilian Complaint Review Board in January announced assault charges against him.