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NYPD cops hoist US flag at City College after school worker tosses away Palestinian flag

Police arrest protesters during pro-Palestinian demonstrations at the City College of New York on April 30, 2024 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)

Cops including two high-ranking NYPD officials proudly hoisted an American flag — and a school worker pulled down and tossed away a Palestinian flag — after evicting protesters encamped at City College, video posted by the department shows.

Kaz Daughtry, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Operations, posted the video early Wednesday.

In the video, a man jumps up and rips down the Palestinian flag then hands it to a school worker who tosses it to the ground. Daughtry and Tarik Sheppard, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for public information, then participate in hooking an American flag to the pole in its place.

The moment appears to have been captured by an NYPD photographer as credentialed media were blocked from accessing the encampment.

At the end of the video, Daughtry and Sheppard smile and pose for the camera next to the flag pole.

“An incredible scene and proud moment as we have assisted @CityCollegeNY in restoring order on campus, culminating in raising Old Glory once again on their campus flagpole,” Daughtry tweeted alongside the video.

Observers criticized the flag video for sending the wrong message and straying too far into politicizing the NYPD.

“NYPD sees itself as a conquering military (not protectors of free speech/protest as they often falsely claim),” wrote Joo Hyun-Kang, director of Communities United for Police Reform. “Replacing a flag isn’t about safety, it’s propaganda. And why in the hell should cops be doing this?”

The criticism brought a defense from the mayor who noted his uncle “died defending the country.”

“You don’t take over our buildings and put another flag up,” Adams said. “It’s despicable that schools will allow another country’s flag to fly in our country. So blame me for being proud to be an American.”

Sheppard said he assumed the Palestinian flag was later thrown away.

“If there is a flag that is up .. that the school didn’t put up, wouldn’t the school normally … say it doesn’t belong here and take it down and put it in the trash? Wouldn’t they normally do that?” Sheppard said.

Palestinian flags have been raised during protests that have unfolded at City College, Columbia University, NYU and campuses elsewhere in recent weeks.

The American flag at City College appears to have been taken down by protesters on Tuesday.

The NYPD Administrative Guide bars cops who are on duty and in uniform from publicly expressing personal views and opinions concerning the merits of any public policy matter. The police procedural guide also bars cops from showing prejudice on the basis of religion, gender or political orientation.

After cops cleared the encampment at Columbia on Tuesday night, they turned to City College and cleared an encampment there, making 173 arrests for lower level charges like trespassing.

The video aligns with a trend in recent months of police brass aggressively targeting critics and promoting their own views on social media.

In March, Daughtry and Chief of Patrol John Chell criticized New York Daily News columnist Harry Siegel over a column on subway crime. In early April, Chell called out Council Member Tiffany Caban for supporting Olayemi Olurin, a commentator and lawyer, who criticized the mayor on a radio show.

“If you want change, vote the change you seek,” Chell wrote.

City law bars government officials from using their official social media handles to electioneer or perform activity that’s political in nature.

“Chief Chell used his official account to repeatedly praise the mayor, who is a candidate for office, and concluded by urging everyone to vote. That is explicitly prohibited conduct by an NYPD official,” Caban told the Daily News.


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