Police have found that some “protesters” believe Thursday night’s alright for rioting.
Outside agitators are swooping in to mar mostly peaceful protests on a weekly basis, striking on Thursday nights, most recently on April 29 in Brooklyn, a police source told The Post.
In that instance, three people were arrested after a march that started around 5 p.m. at Laguardia Playground in Williamsburg. It concluded after midnight at Havemeyer Street and Broadway, and attracted 150 protesters at its peak, the NYPD said.
A week earlier, protesters clashed with police in Manhattan after a monument was vandalized by cop-haters in Central Park. Five people were arrested on various charges at Columbus Circle near the USS Maine National Monument, which was defaced with anti-police graffiti, cops said.
“ACAB,” an acronym for “All cops are bastards,” and “F–k 12,” which means “F–k the police,” were spray-painted on the statue.
“These are not protesters. They’re a small group of agitators bent on destruction. They have other agendas,” the source said.
Police said one of the collared April 22 protesters, Ayden Harrington, 26, clocked a 20-year-old man with a skateboard — then resisted arrest and spit at an officer. She was also accused of kicking a cop in the face as she was hauled into a patrol car. Harrington was charged with assault, assaulting a cop and resisting arrest, cops said.
Chriselle Vega, 20, of the Bronx, was also arrested. She was previously busted Jan. 5 for spraying “ACAB” on St. Patrick’s Cathedral on New Year’s Day, cops said.
Cops identified the alleged vandal through surveillance video, which reportedly showed Vega wearing a pink cape as she spraypainted the landmark church.
Police recognized her at another protest at Washington Square Park, according to the sources.
The NYPD posted on its Facebook page that demonstrators on Thursday March 11 in Lower Manhattan damaged a restaurant and struck again on the Thursdays of March 25 and April 1, “spreading violence and fear at another local eatery and damaging another police car.”
The post noted “these attacks over the last several weeks have been focused on intimidating people enjoying a meal, and on committing property damage at some of the city’s most vulnerable businesses that are hanging on by a thread amid this ongoing pandemic.”
The missive warned that, “The NYPD does its best to encourage and facilitate peaceful protests, but this pattern of criminal behavior needs to end.”
The source said the NYPD successfully monitors five to 10 protests daily, but some of the Thursday incidents — like on April 22 — “take on a life of their own on social media.”
The source said the victimized restaurateurs “don’t come forward because they are afraid they are going to be targeted for retribution.” Which makes it harder for prosecutors to make their case.
Asked to comment on the troubling Thursday night trend, an NYPD spokesman said, “The NYPD has successfully policed large protests, peacefully, for years and years. If it’s planned and cooperative, we make it work for protesters, including for civil disobedience. But we’re still evolving and we are committed to following the DOI recommendations. We have Community Affairs officers in the lead, engaging with the protesters at the front. We are trailing from a distance and holding SRG and our mobile field forces in the background, so that protesters do not feel penned-in or inhibited or flanked by the police. If they’re needed, we call them in.
“When property is damaged or crimes occur, we gather evidence, collect video and wait for an opportune time to take enforcement action,” he continued. “In all of this, we’re measuring the risk versus reward, and the successes versus failures. What we are seeing is that we’re having fewer confrontations with protesters. But some few agitators are taking advantage of the distance we’re giving them and committing numerous acts of property damage. …
“But the jury is out on whether we’ve reached the right mix, because many protesters have shown us, again and again, that they’re not there for lawful protest.”