New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang was mocked and heckled as “pro-cop” on Tuesday when he tried to take part in a protest bike ride in honor of Daunte Wright who was shot and killed by a police officer on Sunday.
Yang rode with approximately 150 other cyclists from the Barclays Center into Lower Manhattan. After riding his bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, he was confronted by protesters. Yang was told repeatedly that he was not welcome at the protest.
A woman told Yang through a megaphone: “Do not use our protest for your publicity.” The group had stopped in Battery Park when the confrontation occurred.
“We don’t want you here. You’re pro-cop,” the woman said.
“Get your ass out of here. We don’t want you here,” said another woman with a megaphone. Others enthusiastically repeated the demand. Protesters started chanting “shame” at Yang as he rode away.
(Video Credit: FreedomNewsTV)
On Wednesday, Kimberly Bernard, who is one of the founders of Riders for Black Lives, which organized the protest, described Yang’s participation in the bike ride as “a PR stunt.”
She told the Gothamist: “He rode in the back of the procession using the opportunity for a photo opportunity. Not once did he reach out to any of the leaders of the group, like other politicians have done in the past.”
Another protester named Jeff Strabone stated that he and others were offended after watching Yang in Battery Park as he was surrounded by reporters and photographers.
“Politicians should respect activists enough to at least introduce themselves and ask if their presence is wanted,” Strabone commented. “Activists are not a photo-op for political campaigns.”
One of Yang’s rivals for mayor, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, along with City Councilmember Brad Lander, who is running to become city comptroller, also attended the beginning of the protest outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. They decided not to join the bike protest.
Strabone noted that Adams and Lander were both taking a step back, listening and engaging in one-on-one conversations with activists. “I didn’t even notice that he was there,” Strabone remarked concerning Adams. “He was just standing there.”
Yesterday Riders for Black Lives protested the murder of Daunte Wright. Brad Lander and Eric Adams showed up and talked with leaders of our group—the right thing to do. Andrew Yang showed up, talked to reporters, and ignored RBL—not cool. Protests are not a photo op.
— Jeff Strabone (@jeffstrabone) April 14, 2021
However, Strabone made it crystal clear that he is not endorsing Adams, who is a former NYPD officer. He is a centrist on numerous issues, including policing. Strabone said he appreciated Adams’ behavior during the event.
Before the bike ride took place, Yang’s campaign mailed out a press release to notify everyone he would be there.
Yang has previously called for additional funding for the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force to combat violence against and hate crimes against the Asian community. Some applauded Yang’s efforts to fight against anti-Asian attacks in Chinatown, but others booed him and started chanting: “Defund the police!”
“If crime against a community goes up 900%, you don’t say, ‘Oh we’ll let volunteers take care of that,'” Yang recently proclaimed at a #StopAsianHate rally in Chinatown. “You dedicate resources until that problem feels like it is going down and not up.”
There was little love for Yang on Twitter over the bike ride incident:
New Yorkers see through Andrew Yang's opportunistic ass.
— gregarious (@mistergeezy) April 14, 2021
Is that him on his little bicycle with the “ting-ting” as he rides away in shame?
Ya love to see it! pic.twitter.com/K60WduCCvM
— vdubthefoxx🦊😘 (@VDubTheFoxx) April 14, 2021
He shows up to bike IN A SUIT so ppl will recognize him, and these Yang Bros are still trolling like “bUt WaS hE dRaWiNg AtTeNtIoN tO hImSeLf”
— 🇺🇸Pajama Pants (@SimmaDownUsa) April 14, 2021
This is beautiful. He just drops in whenever he thinks he can get a pic. He’s just an opportunistic grifter who knows zero about NYC.
— The 2021 VA Governors Race is the Midterms (@MaggsDCBrunchin) April 14, 2021
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