A large group of squabbling children were pulled apart by officers with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for violating social distancing guidelines and the mandatory quarantine in effect to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The viral video captures a street-and-sidewalk-wide brawl that occurred on Thursday in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The contretemps was widely shared on social media Saturday.
In the footage, close to two dozen youths can be seen far past the point of diplomacy over whatever the underlying issue might have been that caused the multiple-person melee.
“This ain’t no motherf**king social distancing,” the narrator of the video says. “This is getting to it.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise people to keep at least six feet apart while in public.
Per New York State guidance, non-essential business must be conducted at home and outdoor recreation must be limited to solitary activities like hiking or biking.
“These provisions will be enforced,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned when announcing the self-quarantine and social distancing orders. “These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions.”
The children, whose ages are impossible to determine but have been described as “teenagers” by local New York media, shove and punch one another for over a minute before the NYPD shows up to disperse the CDC-and-Cuomo-unconcerned participants in the donnybrook.
Most of the fighters quickly move on as the cops approach, but some stay to fight it out. Police proceed to pepper spray some of the remaining scrabblers. One cop grabs a young girl wearing a mask and then throws her into the street, causing her leg to graze the hood of a parked car.
“The shit looked like some World War Z shit, boy,” the narrator exclaims near the end of the clip after the stragglers have cleared out and all that’s left is a broken front door window and neighbors shocked by the incident.
But it wasn’t just the kids who weren’t abiding by the rules.
The video also shows adults stopping their cars and getting out to film the fracas.
“Someone left their car right there to record,” a different narrator notes.
The NYPD has stepped up enforcement of social distancing measures in aggressive ways as of late, prompting sharp criticism from criminal justice reform advocates who question whether the truncheon-like response is actually even worth it.
Approached by cops w/o masks. Pepper sprayed. Arrested. Caged in a cell for nearly 2 days. Packed next to dozens of other women w/o the ability to social distance. All for *not social distancing.* NYPD in the time of Coronavirus. https://t.co/cB6fmedvJh
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) April 3, 2020
“They got us all bunched up in one cell,” one woman told The Intercept of her experience in a New York City jail after somewhat ironically being busted for violating social distancing guidelines. “Nobody gave us no tissues. Regular jail stuff. Once you go in there they are going to treat you like the scum of the earth.”
[image via screengrab/Stevo Bozella/Facebook]
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