The videos, which appear to be shot using mobile phones and were circulated widely on social media, depict two different incidents.
In one, officers in the Harlem section of Manhattan, are seen handcuffing a man on the hood of a sedan while about five other men encircle the group. The men toss water on the arresting officers from buckets. At one point, a shirtless man behind the officers winds up and throws an empty red bucket. After it bounces off the head of the officer closest to the camera, the crowd jeers.
In a second video, two officers, already visibly wet, are seen walking away from a conversation with individuals who are obscured by a parked car in Brooklyn. Splashes of water follow them from off camera as laughter is heard in the background.
As they cross the street, a young man runs up and pours an entire bucket of water on one officer. The two policemen never break stride.
Behind the camera, a woman can be heard laughing and saying, “Oh [the police] came over to talk to them and they violated, they violated them.”
“Look,” she says later, “They’re laughing at them!”
The video, posted to Instagram, had over 20,000 views on Tuesday.
‘That ain’t all right’
The officers in Harlem were responding to reports of a disorderly group when they saw someone they recognized with an outstanding warrant, Monahan told his fellow officers. As chief of department, Monahan supervises uniformed patrol commanders and is the NYPD’s highest-ranked uniformed member.
“As they’re making that arrest, there are a couple of guys who thought it was all right to throw water and a bucket at the cops,” he said. “Well, that ain’t all right.”
The officers called for backup and the group scattered, Monahan said.
In the Brooklyn incident, the officers were walking away from a call when they were attacked with water, Monahan said. He then criticized the officer, who continued walking away after being doused.
“Any cop who thinks that that’s all right, that they can walk away from something like that, maybe should reconsider whether or not this is the profession for them,” he said to applause. “We don’t take that.”
Tweeting on Monday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio called attacks on officers “completely unacceptable.”
“The NYPD kept New Yorkers safe through the heatwave and last night’s outages,” he wrote. “We won’t tolerate this kind of disrespect.”
He identified the first video as taking place in the 28th Precinct in the Harlem section of Manhattan and said the department is investigating.
Speaking with CNN affiliate Spectrum News NY1, de Blasio said the actions could be considered criminal.
“It’s not acceptable for anyone to resist arrest, it’s not acceptable for anyone to interfere with the NYPD when they’re effectuating an arrest,” he said. “Throwing things at an NYPD officer is not only not acceptable, it can lead to charges.”
The New York City Police Benevolent Association, for its part, has placed blame for the incident squarely on politicians.
“The NYPD is now frozen,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “Disorder controls the streets, and our elected leaders refuse to allow us to take them back.”
“As police officers we need to draw a line,” he continued. “In situations like this, we need to take action to protect ourselves and the public.”