51 summonses, 3 arrests in NYC as NYPD steps up social distancing enforcement

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NEW YORK — The NYPD arrested three people and issued 51 summonses on Saturday, the majority for social distancing violations, as the warmer weather tempts more people outside amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday.

Of the 51 violations, 43 summonses were issued inside parks and eight were issued in other areas of the city, Shea said. The commissioner didn’t specify how many of the violations were related to social distancing, but said they made up “the majority” of summonses.

Three people were arrested in the East Village related to a social distancing issue that escalated when police officers tried to enforce the rules, the commissioner said. One officer was placed on modified duty after video of the incident was posted on social media, according to Shea.

The video shows a police officer in street clothes walking toward bystanders with a Taser that appears to be on. When a man refuses to back up, the officer grabs him, punches him several times and throws him on the ground, the video shows. Another officer then runs over to help place the man in handcuffs, the video shows.

Shea said the officer was placed on modified duty as an internal investigation is conducted.

Overall, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD did a “remarkable job” with enforcement on Saturday, adding that the majority of New Yorkers are following social distancing restrictions.

“I was monitoring all day … it’s clear a vast majority of New Yorkers are following the rules,” de Blasio said.

The commissioner and mayor also thanked the Parks Department and other agencies for assisting with increased enforcement.

“We had a lot of help and we appreciate all the other agencies,” Shea said.

The commissioner also noted there were “too many summonses to count” related to reckless driving by motorcyclists in New York City on Saturday. Six motorcycles were seized in Queens, two of which turned out to be stolen, Shea said.

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