A New York City Police Department union known for its controversial attacks against Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted out the personally identifying information of his daughter on Sunday night, including a residential address and her New York State ID number.
The tweet by the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which in February claimed that members of the NYPD were “declaring war” against the mayor, attacked the mayor’s daughter, Chiara de Blasio, for being arrested during an “unlawful assembly” on Saturday night.
Multiple news outlets reported that NYPD arrested Chiara de Blasio during the fifth night of nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose alleged murder at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers sparked protests and violent clashes with authorities in dozens of major cities.
The SBA, run by union boss Ed Mullins, the mayor’s fiercest critic, included a photo of a computer screen which appeared to be his 25-year-old daughter’s arrest report. The report included her date of birth, New York state ID number, and various biographical details, such as height, weight, and citizenship status. It also included an apartment number and home address, which appeared to be Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence (though the zip code did not match.)
Twitter’s policies expressly forbid users from posting personal information, including identity documents, including government-issued IDs. Posting home addresses “or other identifying information related to locations that are considered private” is also forbidden.
The SBA’s tweet remained up for more than an hour before eventually being taken down after a several users (including this reporter) flagged the tweet for abuse. The account was required to voluntarily delete the image before it could resume tweeting.
Twitter ignored multiple inquiries about the dox and took no action against the SBA for violating its rules. The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Although his duties relate almost entirely to the operations of one of New York City’s most highly visible police unions, Mullins, a former NYPD sergeant of Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct, continues to receive a taxpayer-funded salary of $133,524, according to the Gothamist.
Mullins’ views on policing and his frequent attacks on the mayor’s office are widely considered controversial. He has a history of defending the stop-and-frisk program under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a racial profiling operation that civil rights leaders hold as chiefly responsible for dramatically worsening the relationship between minority communities and the NYPD.
Under stop-and-frisk, Blacks and Latinos were disproportionately targeted more than 5 million times by the NYPD between 2002 and 2013, when U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the practice unconstitutional. Mullins has called the practice “productive” and “an effective policy.”
The SBA’s latest attack on de Blasio and his daughter came day after the mayor defended the NYPD’s aggressive and often violent tactics while facing off against protesters in Brooklyn. Video on social media showed two NYPD vehicles this weekend plowing into a sea of demonstrators, who threw a traffic cone and other objects, knocking some of them to the ground.
De Blasio’s description of the incident did not match footage of it circulating online. While he claimed it was “inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” video clearly shows the police vehicles were not surrounded. One of the vehicles was in forward motion nearly the entire time with no one rushing behind it. Protesters were only occasionally to the rear of a second vehicle, which also plunged forward into the crowd.
De Blasio attempted to walk back his statement a little on Sunday, alleging he did not like what he saw “one bit.”
The protest over George Floyd’s killing has gone on for six days, spreading not unlike the pandemic that until last week had subdued the same streets. What started in Minneapolis, where Floyd was videoed by strangers choking and pleading for his life, had by Sunday expanded to no fewer than 40 cities.
The video of Floyd begging not to be killed for nearly nine minutes under the knee of an indifferent white cop tore wider long ignored racial wounds. “Momma! I’m through,” the middle aged man was at one point heard crying; the gut-wrenching phrase among his final words. Only later was it known his mother had passed away two years prior.
As protests rage, incidents of ransacking and arson have become commonplace after sunset, prompting strict curfews and the deployment of the National Guard in several cities. Protesters marching for hours under the sun—including many young activists utilizing their white privilege to shield Black protesters from harm—accuse local officials of clumping them together purposefully with looters. The goal, they allege, is to undermine their central message, that cops who unlawfully extinguish Black lives will come to face justice—in a courtroom, or if not, in the streets.
Footage captured on the streets and shared via Twitter and Instagram has laid bare countless incidents of police disregarding the law—violently shoving peaceful demonstrators for no apparent reason and attacking using punches, kicks, clubs, pellet guns, tear gas, and concussion grenades even as protesters retreat. Members of the news media appear to be prime police targets, with countless journalists and news crews reporting they’ve been attacked and shot with “less-lethal” rounds while holding their press badges high in the air.
Some of the most alarming footage taken shows police officers exploding with rage at random civilians walking on sidewalks far from protests with no apparent reason, hitting them in the face with pepper spray and shoving them before casually walking away. Police have struck protesters with vehicles in other cities, as well.
One video, taken in Minneapolis on Saturday, captured masked police officers clad in black escorted by a military Humvee firing what appeared to be paint canisters directly at a woman standing on her porch in a quiet neighborhood. Just before firing, one of the officers can be heard screaming: “Light ‘em up!”
The Humvee appeared to belong to the National Guard, which had deployed at Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s request earlier in the day. In an email to Gizmodo yesterday, however, the National Guard declined to confirm ownership of the vehicle.
Update: June 1, 2020, 3 a.m. ET: The following tweet was posted Sunday night at 11:13pm and appears to show an NYPD officer drawing a gun on demonstrators who are fleeing in the opposite direction.
Update, June 1, 2020, 9pm: This story was updated to reflect that Twitter did not respond to multiple inquiries about the tweet and took no action against the SBA.
Update, June 1, 2020, 10:30pm: Mayor de Blasio was asked by a reporter earlier today about the police department’s public attacks against his daughter and the release of her personal information specifically. His full response is below.
Look, I think any action where a law enforcement officer violates the policies or violates the law needs to be investigated. I respect freedom of speech. I respect the role of union leaders, even when I disagree. Obviously, we believe in the labor movement. I believe that particular union has often been destructive and tried to create division in the city and has been absolutely unconstructive in addressing the issues we’re facing. You saw in the last 24 hours in New York City police leadership going to their knees to send a message of respect for the protesters and the positive impact that had. Meanwhile, you have the SBA trying every day to divide the city and set us back. So, I feel very strongly about that. If there’s legal action that can and should be taken, I would understand that and support that. But I also understand the reality of union leadership and the limits there – it’s just the reality.
Update, June 2, 2020, 4:00pm: A police union on Tuesday released a longer version of the video involving the officer who advanced on protesters with his gun drawn. The video shows approximately 15 seconds earlier, a white-shirt officer (supervisor) was hit from behind. The union claims the weapon used was a brick.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.