Critics Fault ‘Aggressive’ N.Y.P.D. Response to Pro-Palestinian Rally

Violent confrontations at a pro-Palestinian rally in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on Saturday reflected what some local officials and protest organizers called an unexpectedly aggressive Police Department response, with officers flooding the neighborhood and using force against protesters.

At the rally, which drew hundreds of demonstrators, at least two officers wearing the white shirts of commanders were filmed punching three protesters who were prone in the middle of a crosswalk. One officer had pinned a man to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the ribs, a 50-second video clip shows. Another officer punched the left side of a man’s face as he held his head to the asphalt.

The police arrested around 40 people who were “unlawfully blocking roadways,” Kaz Daughtry, the department’s deputy commissioner of operations, said on social media on Sunday.

Mr. Daughtry shared drone footage of one person who climbed on a city bus, “putting himself and others in danger.” The Police Department, he wrote, “proudly protects everyone’s right to protest, but lawlessness will never be tolerated.”

Neither Mr. Daughtry nor the police commented on the use of force by officers. A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Adams did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the police response.

Bay Ridge has a significant Arab American population and hosts demonstrations in mid-May every year to commemorate what Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe” — when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel’s founding in 1948.

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