Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance reduced charges against an activist two days after a tense hours’-long police standoff that did not yield an arrest.
The standoff between Derrick Ingram and the New York Police Department occurred on Aug. 7, in Hell’s Kitchen, according to The New York Times. Some were outfitted in tactical gear and armed with shields and police dogs. There were also sharpshooters and a helicopter on the scene.
The officers were there to pick up Ingram for a felony assault charge. The charge stemmed from a conflict Ingram had with an officer at a demonstration in June. Ingram reportedly “placed a handheld megaphone directly against the officer’s ear, activated the megaphone and yelled, causing pain and protracted impairment of hearing,” NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said in a statement to CNN.
While the police waited outside his apartment on Friday, Ingram sat in his home and live-streamed through Instagram.
“What did I do? What did I do?” he said during the stream. “I was born Black; that’s what I did.”
He’d refused to let the cops in because they did not have a warrant. While Ingram stood his ground, protesters gathered at the end of the block to support him.
The officers were there for six hours before they left after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea ordered them to retreat. Shea’s decision was applauded by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Commissioner Shea made the right decision to call off the operation,” de Blasio said on Saturday. “Assaulting an officer is unacceptable and will always lead to consequences, but arrests must be made properly.”
Ingram was taken into custody the following morning after he voluntarily turned himself in. He was initially charged with felony assault but Vance downgraded it to a misdemeanor, The New York Post reported.
“He lowered the charge because he is afraid of the protesters,” a source told the outlet.
Vance did not give a reason for the change, but a DA spokesman condemned the police’s tactics.
“Our office does not condone the extraordinary tactics employed by police on Friday,” spokesman Danny Frost said. “These actions were disproportionate to the alleged offense that occurred two months ago, and unjustifiably escalated conflict between law enforcement and the communities we serve.”
Ingram was released on his own recognizance on the night of Saturday, Aug. 8.