A homeless man has suffered burns after a firework was thrown at him in Harlem, New York, on June 22.
Video has emerged online from an official NYPD account showing the moment the firework was thrown at the man, who is lying on the sidewalk.
NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison said the incident occurred “in front of 67 Lenox Avenue, in the confines of the 28 pct. … The male [in the video] threw a lit firework on him, which exploded causing burns to the victims back.”
The Independent identified the victim as a “66-year-old homeless man” and said “first responders took the injured man to St Luke’s Hospital where he was treated for minor burns and is in a stable condition.”
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea Called the Act ‘Unconscionable’
The NYPD is calling for any public information regarding the identity of the male in the video. On Twitter, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea denounced the act as “unconscionable.”
“Acts like these can not be accepted by ANYONE in NYC. The man attacked in this video is someone’s son, father or brother. Think about the victim,” he said.
The incident follows New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement that he will form a task force with 40 law enforcement officers, including 12 FDNY officers, to enforce the ban on illegal fireworks.
A press release issued by the New York Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services this week confirmed a statewide ban on “firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices.
“Additionally, all consumer fireworks, including Sparkling Devices, remain fully prohibited in the City of New York.”
NYPD News also said on Twitter that they were looking for a suspect who threw fireworks at police and police vehicles on June 14 “in front of 485 Ocean Ave in Brooklyn.”
The NYPD posted a public service announcement on June 17 to the same account. “We usually share this video around #IndependenceDay but apparently some people need a reminder that fireworks are illegal and incredibly dangerous.”
The video outlines that fireworks are illegal in the five boroughs of New York, and the “mere possession of them could get you a summons or an arrest.”
The video distinguishes between consumer fireworks made in a factory to certain standards and “forbiddens, made not in a factory but in someone’s basement. A forbidden firework contains an extremely larger amount of flash powder, which makes them quite dangerous.”
“We offer rewards up to $1000 via @nyc311 for info leading to the arrest/conviction of persons possessing/distributing fireworks,” the caption reads.
‘Huge Sting Operation’ Will Be Instigated to Respond to Illegal Fireworks, Says de Blasio
de Blasio promised at a press conference that the supply of illegal fireworks would be “cut off at the knees” in what he called a “huge sting operation.”
De Blasio said some young people who were feeling “cooped up … on beautiful summer nights” were “turning to the wrong approach – illegal fireworks … this is a real problem. It’s not just a quality of life and noise problem … it can also be dangerous.” He continued:
Some of it’s adults, too … We also intend to go to the root cause – that is the people who are supplying the fireworks, the folks who are profiting off of illegal fireworks.
We’re going to start a huge sting operation to go and get these illegal fireworks at the base, meaning everywhere they’re being sold around New York City, and even where they’re being sold in surrounding states that we know are flowing into New York City.
Publicly available official data from the city of New York showed there had been 1,680 complaints lodged regarding illegal fireworks between June 8 and June 15, in contrast to just 12 lodged during the same period last year.
New Yorkers “fed up with Mayor Bill de Blasio allowing the lawlessness continue on their streets, which includes shooting off fireworks at all hours of the night” took to the streets and honked their horns in a noise demonstration near his Gracie Mansion on June 22, The Gateway Pundit reported.
“If Brooklyn can’t sleep, NYC Mayor can’t sleep,” one wrote.
Buzzfeed tech reporter Caroline Haskins called de Blasio’s initiative a “huge, aggressive police response — and right now, when we have mass protests against police brutality, constant police use of force against protesters, and just a heightened atmosphere of fear generally.”
A Buzzfeed article published on June 17, written by Haskins, described police showing up in riot gear, blocking off streets and storming apartments in response to reports of illegal fireworks.