Bus Driver Praised After Refusing to Use Vehicle as Police Paddy Wagon to Transport Arrested Protestors
The MTA driver walked off the bus in front of Brooklyn's Barclays Center where a protest was happening over the killing of George Floyd
A New York City bus driver was praised by protestors on Friday night for refusing to use a vehicle as a paddy wagon for the New York Police Department to transport those arrested during riots over the killing of George Floyd.
Masses of people gathered in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to protest in outrage after the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who was pinned down and killed at the hands of a white police officer.
NYPD made at least 200 arrests that evening, according to ABC7, and later tried to take over an MTA bus to transport the individuals.
However, the driver of a B41 bus took a stand and refused to operate the vehicle as a police van, prompting protestors to applaud the driver for his opposition, as seen in a video that has since gone viral.
In the clip, protestors erupted in cheers and threw their fists up in solidarity as the driver walked off the bus.
Later that night, the Transport Workers Union shared their support for the bus driver. "TWU Local 100 Bus Operations do not work for the NYPD," the union wrote.
"We should transport the working families of NYC, all TWU Operators should refuse to transport arrested protestors," the group explained, adding the hashtag, "Justice For George Floyd."
A spokesperson for the NYPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Just before 11 p.m., New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the protests in Brooklyn on Twitter.
"We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn," he wrote. "Our sole focus is de-escalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don’t ever want to see another night like this."
Protests over racial injustice and police brutality started earlier this week in Minneapolis after footage of Floyd being pinned to the ground with an officer's knee on his neck surfaced online.
The Minneapolis police officer in the video — identified as Derek Chauvin — has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.
Public dissent over racial inequality and police violence continues to spread in major cities across the nation. Though Minneapolis remains the epicenter, there have been protests in at least 30 other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Jose, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington D.C.