Protests have been spreading around the country ever since the revelation of the shooting death of Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis. One of these events was organized in New York City yesterday and it covered quite a bit of territory. One large group of protesters (at that point still mostly peaceful) rode bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan. Joining them was mayoral candidate (and former failed presidential candidate) Andrew Yang. Unfortunately for Yang, while some people seemed to welcome him initially, speakers and attendees at the main protest site quickly turned on him. He was heckled by one of the speakers and several members of the audience. It seems that some of Yang’s recent positions regarding the NYPD didn’t go over very well. (NY Post)
Mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang was heckled and called “pro-cop” during a Tuesday night New York City bike ride protest into the police killing of Daunte Wright…
“Do not use our protest for your publicity,” a woman told Yang through a megaphone when the group stopped in Battery Park at about 7:50 p.m
“We don’t want you here. You’re pro-cop,” the woman said, according to footage of the encounter obtained by The Post.
Several members of the demonstration, which had thinned out by that time, then chanted “shame,” at Yang as he rode away.
I briefly considered questioning Yang’s decision to simply turn tail and ride away. But given how some of these events have quickly devolved into riots where the mob was unafraid of throwing rocks at police officers in riot gear, Yang probably wouldn’t have stood up very well in his bicycle pants and helmet.
I’ve heard protesters yell a lot of insults at people in the past, but this may be the first time I’ve ever heard a civilian, albeit a political candidate, heckled for being “pro-cop.” For virtually all of my adult life, being pro-cop would be seen as a compliment. But now that we’re living in the Upside Down universe, that’s apparently seen as an insult.
So are these demonstrations (and riots) going to end now that Kim Potter is being charged with second-degree manslaughter? I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do, but I’m not holding my breath. The attorney for the Wright family has already been holding press conferences denying that the shooting was any sort of accident and fanning the flames. The protesters are clearly tracking all of this news closely, and many of them are doubtless expecting a murder charge to be filed.
Unfortunately for them, there is simply too much video evidence available of the encounter. Any competent defense team should be able to bat away any suggestion of intent, leaving only a few options on the table for prosecutors. And to be honest, depending on how jury selection goes for both sides, I’m not even 100% confident that you could get a full jury to even agree to manslaughter. As the pretrial proceedings move forward, I won’t be at all surprised if the prosecution tacks on a reckless endangerment charge, just in case they can’t make manslaughter stick.
But what is Andrew Yang’s next move after this? He’s trying to portray himself as being a “man of the people” by mixing it up with the crowds in the streets. (Despite actually being a fabulously wealthy man of the people.) This episode is now out there in the wild on video and will almost certainly come up during the mayoral campaign. Will Yang try to shake that “pro-cop” label that the protesters hung on him or embrace it? Given the crime rates in the Big Apple these days, he might want to go with the latter.