NYPD officer caught stepping on US flag while arresting 'proof of vaccine' protester
The guy, whose identity was not revealed, yelled at an officer, 'You don't deserve to touch that flag, sir. The flag does not touch the ground'
During the arrest of a man protesting New York City's "proof of vaccine" requirement for entry into restaurants and other facilities on Sunday, footage captured what seemed to be an NYPD officer purposefully treading on an American flag inside the Panera Bread where the arrest occurred. A 42-year-old male and other members of a "disorderly group" refused to leave the Panera at the Gateway Center Mall shortly after 3 pm, despite "several demands," according to the New York Post.
Protesters entered five Paneras in New York City on Sunday in violation of the city's rule to show evidence of vaccination before dining in, according to Leeroy Johnson, an independent photographer from NYC who tweeted footage of the event. Officers surround the individual in question in Johnson's video, while other demonstrators struggle to hang on to an American flag. The guy, whose identity was not revealed, yelled at an officer, "You don't deserve to touch that flag, sir." “The flag does not touch the ground!” " A man Johnson recognized as an Army veteran screamed as well.
However, footage recorded from a different viewpoint indicates that during the fight over a small pole on which the American flag was mounted, an NYPD officer appeared to have snatched the pole from one of the demonstrators. The officer then appeared to have purposefully stepped on the flag, first with his right foot and then with his left. "The Constitution of the United States is being violated!" screamed the demonstrator as cops detained him. "I can't eat," he said, "and my sisters and brothers can't work!" He also said he wasn't resisting arrest. The person was notified he was trespassing and then "brought into jail without incident," as clarified by police."
#BreakingNews Activists against mandates was just arrested at Panera Bread in Brooklyn NY that's for the Vaxed only , the Same man was arrested 2 times last week for trying to order food. He's the army veteran .— Leeroy Johnson (@LeeroyPress) December 19, 2021
For licensing email [email protected] #breaking #nyc #Corona pic.twitter.com/7ERqddV7Bt
According to the New York Post, a Panera representative stated, "The safety and security of our guests and workers are essential. As a result, we continue to constantly monitor any New York State masking laws. We urge that all future media queries be forwarded to the NYPD because this is an active police issue."
The Panera arrest came less than a week after six people demonstrating for the same reason were detained outside a Cheesecake Factory in Queens. Approximately 40 protestors entered the restaurant in the Queens Center Mall at 7 pm on Tuesday and refused to provide proof of vaccination. The video showed people shouting with cops, including one who compared the cops to Nazis. Later, members of the group were charged with criminal trespass.