5:40 p.m. The NYPD hate crimes unit is investigating a noose which was found hanging from a tree in a Harlem park this weekend.
The noose was spotted by a tipster in Marcus Garvey Park in East Harlem near Madison Avenue and 122nd Street, near the Mount Morris fire tower, on Saturday.
"The rope looks like it was thrown up but there is definitely a noose," the tipster told Gothamist. "We think this is horrifying and needs to be documented."
The noose apparently remained up until The City inquired about it with the Parks Department on Monday. An aggravated harassment complaint has been filed as well.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, "I am disgusted by the recent discovery of a noose—the epitome of hatred and an evil icon of our nation's racist past—in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park."
He added, "New York is no place for hate, and the progress we've made as a society will not be undone by the work of a few cowards. We will continue to stand united and condemn hateful acts that target and threaten people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation."
4:20 p.m. The 75-year-old protester who was pushed to the ground by a police officer during a protest in Buffalo is still hospitalized since that incident—and his attorney now says that he has a fractured skull and is not able to walk.
"I am not at liberty to elaborate at this time other than to confirm that his skull was fractured," attorney Kelly Zarcone, who represents activist Martin Gugino, told CNN. "While he is not able to walk yet, we were able to have a short conversation before he became too tired. He is appreciative of all of the concern about him but he is still focused on the issues rather than himself."
Zarcone also passed along a message from Gugino: "I think it's very unnecessary to focus on me. There are plenty of other things to think about besides me."
Gugino was violently pushed by an officer in Buffalo’s Niagara Square during a Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 4th. He hit his head on the pavement and started bleeding out of his ear; multiple officers walked by as Gugino lay on the pavement.
Initially, a Buffalo Police spokesman falsely claimed that during a "skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped and fell." After the video was spread widely on social media, Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood ordered the immediate suspension without pay of the two officers involved, Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski. Both officers were later charged with second-degree felony assault.
After the incident, the entire 57-member Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned from that unit (but not from the police force). The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association claimed that it was a show of solidarity with McCabe and Torgalski, but some officers later said it was more because they felt the city wasn't "legally backing us anymore."
Gugino has been hospitalized since then, and has become the subject of national attention. Donald Trump falsely targeted Gugino, insinuating without any evidence that he was an "ANTIFA provocateur" and spreading a conspiracy theory, also without any evidence, about him trying to "scan police communications in order to black out the equipment."
Governor Andrew Cuomo later called Trump's accusations “wholly unacceptable” and said he should apologize: “How reckless, how irresponsible, how mean, how crude...Show some decency. Show some humanity. Show some fairness. You’re the president of the United States."
12:15 p.m. A 32-year-old homeless man was released from federal custody after being wrongly accused and arrested for setting fired to an unmarked police car earlier this month.
Police had been looking for a person who lit a fire under a car—which, NBC New York reports, "had an NYPD placard on its dashboard"—by Devoe and Olive Streets in Williamsburg, around 4:30 a.m. on June 2nd. (June 2nd was in the middle of the citywide curfew and more volatile encounters between police and protesters.) The 90th Precinct tweeted video of the suspect setting the blaze at the car, which appears to be parked in front of a fire hydrant:
On June 11th, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue announced that Michael Rodriguez had been arrested, and a press release from his office said, "The vehicle, assigned to an NYPD captain, was parked at the location for the night. Rodriguez was captured on video surveillance footage pouring liquid on the vehicle’s windshield, placing cardboard on the windshield, and then setting the cardboard on fire. With the vehicle ablaze, Rodriguez pointed a cellular phone toward the vehicle and appeared to either record or take photographs of the fire. The defendant then fled the scene on foot. Another vehicle parked near the NYPD vehicle was also damaged by fire."
A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Eric Dornbusch, said in the criminal complaint that police went to the area where Rodriguez was known to sleep, and a witness there said "a male known as 'Justin' had been sleeping at that location for approximately two weeks. The day after the media release, on Monday, June 8th, 2020, 'Justin' asked the witness whether the witness saw anything about him in the newspaper."
A few days later, Dornbusch and other law enforcement officers returned to that area: "The defendant was not at that location, but in the immediate area that the witness identified as where "Justin" usually slept, I found two lighters, a cell phone and a newspaper article about the June 2nd, 2020 arson of the NYPD vehicle."
They later found Rodriguez a few blocks away and decided that he resembled the suspect, according to the complaint, which notes, "When initially approached by law enforcement on June 11th, 2020, the defendant responded to the name 'Justin' but later admitted his name was Michael Rodriguez and provided his date of birth." Rodriguez was subsequently arrested and charged.
By Sunday, the charges were dismissed. Federal public defender Kannan Sundaram told the AP, "I think they jumped the gun on the arrest. They arrested the wrong person," but also added that the feds hadn't released all the evidence.
Here's a running list of protests planned for Tuesday, June 16th:
159 Dr Joan Maynard Way (March) 1 p.m.
McCarren Park (Vigil, then march) 7 p.m.
Washington Square Park (Protest) 4 p.m.
Carl Schurz Park (Vigil) 7 p.m.
Central Ave. & McLean Ave to Woodlawn Ave. (Protest) 1 p.m.
Protest information via @justiceforgeorgenyc