New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.

  • In another video from protests on Friday night, an officer was recorded shoving a female protester to the ground. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and New York State Sen. Jessica Ramos have called for assault charges against the officer, according to CBS New York.

What he's saying: "To the Members of the NYPD: What you’ve endured these last couple of days and nights—like much of 2020, so far—was unprecedented," Shea said. "In no small way, I want you to know that I’m extremely proud of the way you’ve comported yourselves in the face of such persistent danger disrespect, and denigration."

  • "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind. It was not about civil disobedience. It was not about demonstrating against police brutality."
  • "What it was, quite frankly, was a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history, to co-opt the cause of equality that we all must uphold, to intentionally inflict chaos, mayhem, and injury just for the sake of doing so."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also defended the NYPD in an address Saturday night. He called the video of NYPD vehicles ramming protestors "upsetting," but said that the protesters were wrong to surround the SUVs.

  • “It is inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” he said. “That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city.”
  • While he wished the officers had not driven into the crowd, de Blasio said he believes "they didn't start the situation," and that it was "started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle."

The big picture: Demonstrators set fire to police vehicles and clashed with officers at simultaneous marches that raged through all five boroughs on Saturday night, the New York Times reports.

  • More than 345 people were arrested, 33 officers injured and 47 police vehicles damaged or destroyed, with several of them set on fire.
  • De Blasio promised that any police officers who used unnecessary force throughout the protests will be held accountable. He also announced an independent inquiry led by the state attorney general’s office into how the police had handled protests on Friday night, according to the Times.

Go deeper ... Amnesty International: U.S. police must end militarized response to protests

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ProPublica releases thousands of NYPD disciplinary records

Photo: Vusale Abbasova/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

ProPublica on Sunday released a searchable database consisting of thousands of New York Police Department disciplinary records that state law had shielded from public view for decades.

The state of play: State lawmakers voted to repeal the statute in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the records after unions for police officers, firefighters and corrections officers sued the city. ProPublica is not a party to the lawsuit and chose to move forward with releasing the records.

Car drives into Black Lives Matter protest crowd in Colorado

A woman wipes away a tear while watching people shut down I-225 to protest the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado, on Saturday.

A car drove into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters and a demonstrator was shot in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, on Saturday, police said in a series of statements posted to Twitter.

Of note: Later in the night, police declared an unlawful protest after a fire was started inside a courthouse office.

Updated 19 mins ago - Science

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina

People walk through floodwaters on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Ocean Isle Beach in southern North Carolina at 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

What's happening: Hurricane conditions were spreading onto the coast of eastern South Carolina and southeastern N.C., the NHC said in an 11 p.m. update. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith told WECT News the eye of the storm triggered "a series of fires at homes" and "a lot of flooding." Fire authorities confirmed they were responding to "multiple structure fires in the area."