An NYPD officer ripped the mask off a young, black protester Saturday in Brooklyn — only to pepper-spray him in the face, video shows.
The young man was seen in footage posted to Twitter with his hands up in the air as officers order the group of demonstrators to move.
In the clip, the protester takes one step back before a cop pushes him, pulls off his mask and unloads pepper spray in his face.
“I am heartbroken and disgusted to see one of my family members a young black man w/his hands up peacefully protesting and an NYPD officer pulls down his mask and pepper sprays him,” Anju J. Rupchandani, who identified herself as the man’s aunt, wrote on Twitter.
Rupchandani later shared a statement from the young man’s mother, saying he and his brother were “adamant” about attending the protests.
“Today my sons went to be present as they know they could be the next George Floyd because they are black men,” the statement said. “They were adamant that it was their duty to be present.”
The mom said they were both pepper-sprayed but only one of them had their mask pulled down and questioned what threat he posed.
“He did not have a gun, his hands were up, he was backing up… the one thing he could not do was not be a black man,” she said in a statement. “Which means he did not have a chance.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James responded to the video on Twitter, asking Rupchandani to report the incident.
The NYPD said it is investigating the incident.
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