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NYPD Uses Ominous Music To Sensationalize Investigation Into Protesters

4:20 p.m. The NYPD has released a new video, with a musical twist, asking the public for help identifying multiple protesters who allegedly injured police officers during the Black Lives Matter protests over the past two weeks.

While the police routinely use social media to disseminate photos and videos of suspects in criminal investigations, this one uses dramatic, ominous music to sensationalize the footage, something that stands out as highly unusual for the department.

The NYPD has released several videos of suspects involved in police-related attacks in recent days, but none of them included a soundtrack to the investigation.

Last night, Tucker Carlson aired a video of people in the Seattle Autonomous Zone featuring people in bunny costumes and a man in a banana suit sipping a drink that was accompanied by a similarly ominous soundtrack.

At the end of May, a video compilation capturing 14 moments of police brutality taken during the recent BLM protests amassed more than 50 million views.

On June 4th, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea castigated people for spreading what he described as context-less videos of officers aggressively arresting protesters, arguing the use of force is often justified. "Let's be a little mature and a little responsible, and before you start commenting on a six second video, do a little homework and get the facts," he said, arguing without specifics that some of the lawbreaking was "carefully choreographed" to create negative-looking imagery about the NYPD.

Barclays Center Welcomes Protesters In Brooklyn

1 p.m. Over the past three weeks of protests against racist police violence in New York City, certain locations have become regular rallying spots for demonstrators: Washington Square Park and Carl Schurz Park next to Gracie Mansion in Manhattan; and McCarren Park and the Barclays Center's plaza in Brooklyn. The emergence of the Barclays Center as an important artery for protesters, both during volatile and peaceful moments, is now at the heart of two stories.

Norman Oder, who chronicled the rise of the arena as part of the Atlantic Yards development in his watchdog blog, Atlantic Yards Report, wrote in Bklyner last week, "Since May 29, though, crowds protesting police brutality and racist killings—triggered by the gruesome killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd—have converged at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, turning that plaza into Brooklyn’s new Town Square. The Barclays Center, thanks to its location at Brooklyn’s largest transit hub, its proximity to residential neighborhoods, and its mothballed-by-pandemic status, has become the locus of activism in Brooklyn."

And with that, Oder observed, "The past ten days have changed the perception of the arena," which had been derided by neighbors for years. Those neighbors and others opposed to the development were angry that the state had declared the area "blighted," enabling the project to move forward by seizing property through eminent domain (but only after years of court battles).

Protesters on June 12, 2020

The NY Times headlined their article, "How a Once-Loathed Brooklyn Arena Became a Protest Epicenter," with one woman calling the plaza a "mecca... This is where everything happens."

It's worth remembering that the arena was never supposed to have a plaza; the Times reports that feature was only added after the fact: "The developer, Forest City Ratner, wanted to build an office tower there. But by 2010, amid the Great Recession, demand for office space in the area had evaporated and Forest City changed plans."

Joseph Tsai, the billionaire owner of the company that operates Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and New York Liberty, told the Daily News, "We have said that we will use the voice and platform of the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center to facilitate empathy and dialogue. In Brooklyn, the Plaza at Flatbush and Atlantic has become a place for people to assemble and have their voice heard. If it continues to serve as a place where everyone from our community – from residents to businesses to police alike – gather peacefully to listen to each other and find common ground, then it’s good with me."

Tsai made his fortune as co-founder of Alibaba, the sprawling Chinese technology and e-commerce company, and recently he, his wife, and fellow Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma donated 1,000 ventilators to New York State in April, as the state was facing its peak of coronavirus cases.

Though Tsai has acknowledged the necessity of addressing systemic racism in the United States, his support for protest movements is not universal: Last fall, he was critical of anyone from the United States commenting about Hong Kong protesters' issues about Chinese rule, "The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities. Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China. The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable."

Comments by Houston Rockets GM Darryl Morey in support of the Hong Kong protesters, who are fighting for democracy, led to China effectively restricting the NBA's broadcasts and associated merchandise sales; the Chinese market, with 1.4 billion residents, is worth billions of dollars for the sports league.

The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong is driven by many young protesters who are frustrated with the region's growing inequality and a desire for free and fair elections. Protesters have also asked for greater civil liberties, police accountability, and autonomy from communist China.

In October, hundreds of pro-Hong Kong protesters attended a Brooklyn Nets game and voiced their support of the movement; an organizer said they were treated with respect and not asked to leave. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving said of those protesters at the time, "When you think about communities across the world, a lot of people would stand for world peace. Government gets involved, it impacts different communities in different ways. And the reality is as individuals it’s our job to stand up for what we believe in. Now, I understand Hong Kong and China are dealing with their issues, respectively. But there’s enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well."

Currently, Irving is reportedly rallying fellow NBA players not to participate in the resumption of the league's season at Disney World.

Here's a running list of protests planned for Wednesday, June 17th:


Barclays Center (March) 12 p.m.

100 Grattan (Silkscreening) 4 p.m.

McCarren Park (Vigil, March) 7 p.m.


Washington Square Park (Vigil for Toyin) 12 p.m.

125th Street/Lenox Avenue (Juneteenth Kickoff) 4 p.m.

120th Street/Fifth Avenue (March) 4 p.m.

110th Street/Fifth Avenue (March) 4:45 p.m.

Carl Schurz Park (Vigil) 7 p.m.

Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell (7:30 p.m.)


Astoria Park War Memorial (Protest) 5:30 p.m.

Grover Cleveland Park (Protest) 6 p.m.

Protest information via @justiceforgeorgenyc