While it hasn’t gained nearly as much media attention as the criminal occupation force in Portland, Oregon, New York City has had its own “CHOP” zone in place since June 21st. Originally known as “Occupy City Hall” by organizers, the encampment was later renamed Abolition Park. In a rather bold move, the occupiers set up camp almost literally on the Mayor’s doorstep in City Hall Park. Despite the fact that the site quickly attracted all of the filth and sporadic crime we’ve grown used to in these encampments, Mayor Bill de Blasio spent the past month defending the occupiers and insisting that everyone needed to listen to their very important message.
But as of early this morning, it appears that even the Mayor’s patience had run out. A massive force of NYPD officers arrived in riot gear and formed a thick blue wall to clear the area. They were followed by sanitation trucks, with workers loading up all the detritus and debris from the encampment for a trip to the landfill. And since this was all taking place in the wee hours of the morning, the protesters and rioters didn’t have much warning or time to mount any sort of resistance. By the time the sun came up, Abolition Park was no more. (Gothamist)
Hundreds of NYPD officers swept through the encampment outside City Hall in Lower Manhattan just before 4 a.m. on Wednesday, clearing out the month-long occupation without warning.
Lines of police were seen approaching the camp at around 3:45 a.m., ripping down tents and tarps used by protesters and the park’s homeless population. Seven men were taken into custody with charges pending, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
Videos shows police officers with riot shields and tactical gear forming a line on the east side of the encampment, as another group of cops tosses the camp’s physical infrastructure into the back of a Department of Sanitation truck.
Here’s some of the video from Gothamist showing the NYPD moving in like a line of human bulldozers. The phrase “resistance if futile” comes to mind.
One of the reporters from the New York CBS Radio outlet picked up more of the action after the sun came up.
Tents, chairs, signs all getting thrown into DSNY trucks pic.twitter.com/hWYY0SLSf6
— Steve Burns (@StvBurns) July 22, 2020
So what prompted the Mayor’s sudden change of heart? He obviously hasn’t always taken such a rough and tumble approach to rioters in the streets of the Big Apple. In fact, his historical approach to such subjects predates his tenure as Mayor. The Gothamist reminds us of how he reacted when Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the NYPD to clear the Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Zuccotti Park in 2011. At that time he released a statement calling Bloomberg’s actions “needlessly provocative and legally questionable,” particularly since the park had been cleared “in the dead of night.”
I suppose things look a little different when the shoe is on the other foot and you’re the one having to make the call, eh? I’m hesitant to give de Blasio too big of a pat on the back for taking this long overdue action. You rarely see a leopard changing its spots this quickly. But at least for the moment, some measure of order appears to have been restored and the NYPD was allowed to deploy their full power to take back control of the streets.
The problem is that this is only one single night and one morning. The mob isn’t just going to go away after a brief bit of pushback after being allowed to run rampant for so long. If things return to the previous status quo over the next 24 to 48 hours, this will wind up being a single headline for the Mayor and then we’ll go back to the mayhem that’s been consuming New York City for months. But I do have to wonder if the prolonged, radical increase in shootings and murders were finally too much for Bill de Blasio to ignore any longer. Perhaps he’s decided that Giuliani and Bloomberg weren’t so crazy after all. We can only hope.