QUEENS, N.Y. — Five people were hit with rioting and other charges Saturday after police say they damaged and graffitied a vehicle in Queens Friday night.
Police shared images of the vehicle on social media, however, they did not specify where in Queens the incident took place.
“The NYPD takes its responsibility to protect the [First] Amendment rights of peaceful demonstrators seriously. Just as important is the safety of [New Yorkers and] the protection of property from people breaking the law in the name of protest. As seen tonight in Queens, they will be arrested,” the NYPD tweeted.
A large but peaceful demonstration was held Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn following the not guilty verdict in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse related to the 2020 protest shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Later Saturday, Mayor-elect Eric Adams and other local elected officials said the Queens rioting was not related to the Rittenhouse verdict, and that instead, the suspects were bad actors taking advantage of the situation and the climate surrounding the case.
On Saturday, police told PIX11 News five arrests were made in connection with the vandalism.
Kyrk Freeman, 22, was charged with riot, criminal mischief, making graffiti, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, reckless endangerment of property, possession of a graffiti instrument, unlawful assembly, and walking in the roadway, police said.
Charles Edmonds, 37, faces charges of riot, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, reckless endangerment of property, unlawful assembly, and walking in the roadway.
Jonathan Lefokowitz, 38, was hit with charges of riot, obstructing governmental administration, criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful assembly, and walking in the roadway.
Daniel Wattley, 28, and Alexander Davis, 33, were charged with riot, obstructing governmental administration, unlawful assembly, and walking in the roadway.
All of the suspects are from Brooklyn except Edmonds, who hails from Freehold, New Jersey, according to police.
City Councilman Robert Holden said in a statement the incident took place in Middle Village and blamed anarchists for organizing the vandalism.
“Last night, 40 to 50 anarchists dressed in black assembled at Crowley Park in Elmhurst and then entered Middle Village to vandalize and disturb the peace. These rioters vandalized property, tore down American flags, turned over garbage cans, jumped on and spray-painted cars, and blocked traffic,” Holden said in the statement.
The councilman applauded the NYPD for its swift response and the arrests.
“Our community will not tolerate these senseless crimes and we thank the police officers in NYPD Queens North for the work they did to defend us,” he said.