Chaos ensued in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City on Thursday afternoon, as the New York Police Department (NYPD) dispersed a crowd that gathered for a funeral.
An NYPD source told the Yeshiva World News website that police were told that a vehicle carrying a coffin would be passing by a home for a short funeral, and took action ahead of time.
Not taking any chances, the top brass of the NYPD arrived at the scene. The NYPD said they had allowed family only to be on the block, but people did not listen to authorities. This prompted the police to order the vehicle carrying the coffin to leave, prompting a wild scene that was caught on video and went viral.
One person was arrested and was since released, according to the report.
The incident occurred just two days after a large funeral gathering in Williamsburg which prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to address the entire Jewish community and write on Twitter that “the time for warnings has passed."
"I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period,” he added.
A representative for the Orthodox Jewish community later said that the city knew about the funeral and that as many as five police precincts were involved in putting up barricades to accommodate it.
The site also said that police made no arrests or summons during the funeral. Photos taken from the funeral show mourners wearing face masks, although social distancing rules were not universally observed.
De Blasio was condemned for the remarks, with critics pointing out that various ethnic groups have blatantly violated the city’s social distancing guidelines, but none have been singled out and named by the mayor the way the Jewish community was.
The Mayor later apologized to the Jewish community and said, "I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people the feeling that they were being treated the wrong way.”
"It was said with love, but it was tough love," de Blasio added. He added that "Members of the Jewish community were putting each other in danger and putting our police officers in danger."