NYPD criticized after PPE briefly confiscated outside Brooklyn polling site

NYPD polling site
Photo credit @NYCCouncil38/Twitter

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The NYPD confiscated personal protective equipment being handed out at a Brooklyn polling site on Saturday; the PPE was later returned, but the initial response led to criticism from a Council member and community advocates.

Video tweeted by Council Member Carlos Menchaca shows NYPD officers confiscating the PPE outside the Joseph Miccio Community Center in Red Hook.

“On the first day of early voting in Red Hook, 76th Precinct officers confronted community activists handing out PPE in front of an early polling site and then seized it,” Menchaca wrote. “This is unacceptable, the NYPD must issue clear guidelines and not escalate situations at the polls.”

“There must be accountability,” the council member wrote in a follow-up tweet. “We are one city, and there should be peaceful responses by the NYPD. Anything short than that could lead to voter suppression.”

The NYPD said the officers confiscated the items at the request of election officials, who said community groups handing it out were too close to the polling site, according to WABC.

The department said the items were returned when the groups agreed to move to a different area.

“At the request of election officials, officers asked these individuals repeatedly to comply with election rules. After refusing to comply their property was removed,” the NYPD tweeted. “Upon further discussion, they agreed to relocate to an appropriate area, and their property was returned.”