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In the last two weeks, several videos have surfaced of clashes between NYPD officers and communities of color over social distancing regulations to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Some elected officials and activists were outraged saying the NYPD was targeting blacks and Latinos for enforcement and not white communities. NYPD data shows blacks have been ticketed and arrested more than other groups for violations of COVID-19 regulations.
"What it was, was a lack of clarity. I think our officers were affected by a lack of clarity as where they are supposed to be putting their attention, how to deal with a different situation, a different set of ground rules,” Mayor de Blasio said.
City agencies, community and church groups as well as over 2000 newly created ambassadors will be out educating people about the importance of staying six feet apart and wearing face coverings.
"Reserve the work of the NYPD for the most dangerous piece of the equation which is gatherings, particularly large gatherings,” the mayor said. “The larger the gathering the more dangerous it presents to the health of everyone involved."
He added that large gatherings could cause the virus to spread to more families.
The NYPD vowed officers will continue to fight crime as well as help people across the city deal with COVID-19 issues including handing out face coverings and food to those in need.
The president of the Police Benevolent Association says the resetting of rules for cops is not enough.
“The new policy should be a single sentence: police officers are not responsible for enforcing social distancing or other public health directives,” Pat Lynch said in a statement.
Elected and police officials say with New York being hit hard by the virus especially communities of color, everyone should encourage their family, friends and neighbors to follow all of the COVID-19 rules.