New York City protesters punch police, spit in officer’s face, officials say

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At least 57 people were charged with crimes during demonstrations in New York City late Wednesday into Thursday — including a woman who spat in an officer’s face, police said.

Many in New York City, as well as other parts of the country, have taken to the streets as the 2020 presidential election remains undecided. Of the 57 people accused of committing crimes in the Big Apple, 25 people were arrested and 32 were issued summonses, a New York City Police Department spokesperson said in an email to Fox News.

NYC DEMONSTRATORS SET FIRES, CLASH WITH POLICE IN ELECTION PROTEST; DOZENS ARRESTED

The 25 people arrested included three people who allegedly punched or spat at police, and a fourth person who smashed the windows of a commercial building, police said. All four were arrested in Manhattan.

A 24-year-old Pennsylvania woman spat “directly into” a sergeant’s face after he ordered her to move back while she screamed at him, “F— you, fascist,” a police source confirmed to Fox News. Singh, a 24-year-old woman from Schwenksville, Pa., was charged with obstruction of government administration, harassment and a violation of local law, police said.

A 23-year-old Brooklyn man allegedly punched a high-ranking member of the NYPD, possibly a captain, in the back of the head and was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of government administration and harassment, police and sources said.

LIVE UPDATES: NATIONAL GUARD ACTIVATED AFTER WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE IN PORTLAND, NYPD ARRESTS ABOUT 50 PROTESTERS

In an alleged attempt to stop police from arresting Beaudoin, 23-year-old Rachel Menard, who lives at the same address as the man, punched a chief twice in the face with a closed fist, the source said. She was charged with assault and obstructing government administration, according to police.

None of the assaulted police officers required hospitalization.

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Meanwhile, a 35-year-old man was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly damaging property at a commercial building.

A tweet posted late Wednesday by the NYPD shows some of the items confiscated that night during protests, including M80 fireworks, knives, a hammer, flammable liquid and a stun gun. 

“Who brings a knife and a hammer and a flammable liquid to in fact start fires to a peaceful protest?” police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Thursday during a news conference outside One Police Plaza. 

Prior to Wednesday’s chaos, the day started when hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the New York Public Library and marched to lower Manhattan before peacefully dispersing, Shea said. Once it got dark, some demonstrators converged on the area and set fires and clashed with police, he said. 

On top of tense confrontations, police officials said protesters have employed a new tactic called “de-arresting,” in which protesters surround officers trying to make an arrest in an effort to let the perpetrator get away. 

Meanwhile, the arresting officer is left to clash with other protesters while the suspect escapes. The resistance tactic was widely seen during unrest in Hong Kong before being replicated in New York, said John Miller, the NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence.

Miller said officers discovered the tactic first-hand over the summer while trying to make an arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge. Video of the incident went viral as officers were seen brawling with demonstrators as they were trying to make an arrest. 

“What this resulted in is a lot of imagery being put on social media that appears to portray excessive police violence,” Miller said. “And it’s hard to tell people you’re not seeing what you’re seeing, but when you have that context, you don’t know why that’s happening. And they’ve used that very effectively as propaganda.”

In response to reports of storefront break-ins, the NYPD announced Wednesday the creation of a Looting Task Force.

Curtis Sliwa, who founded and runs the Guardian Angels – a community watchdog effort that began in New York in the 70s and has now spread to several other parts of the nation – lauded the NYPD’s formation of the new task force. He told Fox News the department is “taking advantage of what they have, the weapons they already had available, facial recognition technology.”

Sliwa, who has been in the NYC streets patrolling with the Guardian Angels during recent protests, said he believed the police department had changed how it handles unrest in recent days compared to past instances of riots and lootings in the city in the summer months.

“Unlike the summer where they were reactive – they were very slow to respond and the demonstrators controlled the streets – this time around, they seem to be preemptive, the NYPD,” he said. “So, they are definitely ahead of the curve. They’re boxing in the troublemakers.”

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