MSNBC host Chris Hayes took New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to task on Thursday night for falsely claiming that New York police hadn’t beaten protesters despite video evidence to the contrary.
In recent days, several videos have surfaced on social media showing NYPD officers whacking peaceful protesters with batons, including a “horrifying” viral clip of three officers bludgeoning a cyclist on Wednesday night. The latter video prompted widespread outrage—except from the governor and mayor.
Noting that Wednesday night’s New York protest over George Floyd’s death devolved into violence because “the NYPD started beating people,” Hayes went on to highlight several incidents captured on video by protesters and journalists.
“In fact, the public advocate of the City of New York, Jumaane Williams, was present at the protest and live-streaming,” he said. “A New York Times reporter was following the crowd and documenting the peaceful protest in the march of Brooklyn.”
After reading from a reporter’s description of the police escalating the violence and beating multiple protesters, the MSNBC host lambasted Cuomo and de Blasio not only for the heavy-handed tactics but lying to the public about them.
“The mayor of New York City and the governor of New York state went before reporters to gaslight the public, all of us, into believing that we did not see what we all saw,” he exclaimed. “That the witnesses are not telling the truth about police beating protesters with their batons.”
The MSNBC star went on to play clips of the NYC mayor claiming he hasn’t seen any footage of police violence towards demonstrators and Cuomo taking umbrage at the very suggestion that officers would do that.
“A police officer doing their job, do you think there is any sensible police officer who believes their job is bludgeoning a peaceful person with a baton?” Cuomo huffed. “You see, it's that kind of incendiary rhetoric that is not a fact. It's not even an opinion. That is a hyper-partisan rhetorical attack. That is a hyperpartisan rhetorical attack. Police hit peaceful protesters with batons for no reason. That’s not a fact. They don’t do that.”
An incensed Hayes retorted to Cuomo: “Well, it is a fact. It is very much a fact.”
He would then go on to show more footage of police roughing up protesters before sounding one final note.
“If this is what it looks like, and based on eye witness accounts it sure appears it’s what it looks like, there must be consequences for the police officers and the people that command and supervisor them,” Hayes concluded.