Bill de Blasio Calls Ferguson Unrest ‘Troubling’

People discuss unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

People discuss unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The show of force by police in Ferguson, Missouri, troubles Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mr. de Blasio said today he didn’t know the details about the ongoing unrest in the Missouri town, though he questioned the harsh reaction of police officers there to protests following the shooting death an unarmed 18-year-old man.

“I don’t know the details of what’s happened in Missouri.  I think it is a different situation in a number of ways but some of the images are certainly troubling,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I don’t like to see, you know, journalists under arrest. I don’t like to see situations where there’s such an intense show of force that may not be entirely necessary.”

Police officers in military gear patrolled an apparently peaceful protest in Ferguson yesterday, eventually arresting journalists from The Washington Post and Huffington Post who were filing stories from a local McDonald’s. The police actions have provoked outrage in Missouri and online, where resentment is festering between the predominately white police force and black residents.

Heavily-armed police officers carrying machine guns and driving armored vehicles have tried to disperse protesters calling for justice in the case of Michael Brown. An unidentified officer this month shot and killed Brown, who was black. The exact circumstances surrounding Brown’s death are unclear.

Mr. de Blasio used the event to draw a contrast between the Ferguson police and the NYPD, who are again drawing criticism after a Staten Island man died in police custody last month. The mayor praised the NYPD for properly managing protests in the past.

“For decades and decades we’ve had the tradition in this city of respecting and properly managing peaceful protest,” he said. “I give the NYPD a lot of credit, I give the people of this city a lot of credit.”

“I can say safely the way we do things here is the right way. There’s a tremendous respect for the democratic process while maintaining security,” he added.