As in so many other cities across the U.S, thousands of New York City residents have taken to the streets for multiple days to nonviolently protest the ongoing problem of the police department's continued abuse of people of color.
Nearly all of the demonstrations in NYC have been nonviolent, though looting and destruction has occurred in the late hours, often by groups not affiliated with the demonstrations themselves.
But over the last few days, social media has abounded with images and videos of police using questionably aggressive methods to manage the nonviolent protesters.
The Interceptreported that NYPD officials have used moving vehicles, pepper spray and nightsticks to maintain law and order, though often those mechanisms only escalated violence and chaos.
Many videos and photos circulating around Twitter have captured a new police tactic that has alarmed people. Several NYPD officials have been seen covering their badge numbers.
Badge numbers identify a police officer and so are paramount to ensuring accountability following any problematic behavior. The Intercept went on to report that covering a badge number violates the NYPD Patrol Guide and New York's Right to Know Act, which requires all officers identify themselves by name, rank and badge number upon engaging with any person.
The practice, now made more significant than ever in the midst of citywide unrest, actually began back in mid-April. NYPD Commissioner Dermont Shea announced a pandemic-based rationale for the practice of covering badge numbers at that time.
But Twitter was not buying the police's public reasoning when the police presence on the streets is so prevalent and interactions with the public nonstop.
As the practice remained throughout the recent protests, people have called out what appeared as merely an escape from accountability wrapped in the cloak of a memorial.
Though people were not at all surprised.
Evidently, the action only reinforced the frustrations driving the protests in the first place—anger and impatience with police departments for their perceived unwillingness to adopt transparency and accept accountability.