Inside the Met Gala on Monday evening, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio walked the red carpet alongside First Lady Chirlane McCray and son Dante, seemingly enjoying the highly exclusive event despite once deeming it not his “cup of tea.” Outside the gala, NYPD officers arrested multiple Black Lives Matter protesters, who were calling to defund the police department whose budget de Blasio oversees.
According to the Daily Mail, a flyer from the demonstration identified the protesters as an “autonomous group of NYC abolitionists who believe that policing does not protect and serve communities,” and hashtags on Twitter identified them as “#FireThemAll” protesters. Cell phone footage shows the crowd gathered outside the gala chanting “Black Lives Matter” and calling out “Mike Rosado,” the name of a 24-year-old man in the Bronx who was fatally shot by plainclothes police officers in August.
Additional footage and photos of the demonstration show at least two dozen police officers rushing toward the crowd, tackling people to the ground, and carrying them away in zip-tie handcuffs. Later that night, protesters reportedly moved their demonstration to outside the NYPD’s 28th precinct, where some of their fellow demonstrators were still being detained as of around 9 p.m. local time.
De Blasio was heavily criticized last summer amid mass protests for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for implementing a citywide 8 p.m. curfew that exacerbated police violence against demonstrators. The outgoing mayor also notably defended the NYPD officers who drove into a throng of protesters with an SUV. “It’s inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” de Blasio said at the time. “That’s wrong on its face, and that hasn’t happened in the history of protest in NYC.”
In a way, it is all too fitting that police would be brutally arresting Black protesters outside a fashion event whose theme was, in essence, “America.” The same is true of the fact that the politician who might be able to deliver on protesters’ demands would be inside, among the city’s elite, getting his picture taken.