A New York instructor claims that a’reciprocity’ message implying an attack on officers was misconstrued.
A teacher has been compelled to clarify a contentious article that appeared to advocate violence against thousands of grieving police officers.
A Brooklyn teacher whose Instagram post appeared to incite violence against police officers in memory of dead officer Jason Rivera claimed his message was “misconstrued” and that he was simply commenting on the crowd’s “vulnerability.”
Chris Flanigan says he has received death threats in response to an Instagram story he deleted showing an overhead image of officers filling Fifth Avenue for Rivera’s funeral, captioned, “5/30/20: NYPD SUV crashes into a mob of demonstrators.” Conditions optimal for reciprocity.”
“I was attempting to demonstrate the vulnerability of all of these police officers being in the same spot at the same time, which appears to be a dangerous position for anyone who is that gathered,” Mr Flanigan told the New York Post on Sunday.
“I have the utmost regard for the NYPD. “I am not a supporter of violence,” he continued.
“The murder of a 22-year-old police officer in the course of duty is heinous. That breaks my heart. I’m heartbroken that his spouse died just a week later. This does not fit well with me.”
Mr Flanigan, who teaches at Coney Island Prep, claimed he posted the message on Friday night but removed it the following morning after two friends, one of whom is a cop, replied and “asked what I meant by the post.”
“I hadn’t thought about it for the remainder of the day, convinced that I’d done the right thing by getting ahead of it and removing it, since I didn’t want anyone else to misunderstand it or misrepresent myself in the way it’s being interpreted,” he explained.
“I realized the way it was written made it appear as though I was attempting to instigate violence, which was the furthest thing from what I intended for that post, which is why I removed it immediately.”
Mr Flanigan was referring to an event in which an NYPD car drove into a crowd of Brooklyn demonstrators in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Mr Flanigan maintained that he was merely comparing the protests to the enormous police presence at Rivera’s funeral in Manhattan on Friday.
“I was attempting to demonstrate the risks inherent in having that many police officers gathering so closely together,” Mr Flanigan explained.
“Nobody should have been in that hole in the manner in which they were. I believed it was too flimsy, and I was attempting to draw a parallel between the two.”
When questioned about his usage of the term “reciprocity,” the math teacher maintained that it was not intended to be a call for violence against police officers.
“Not in the sense that people should be driving or engaging in similar behavior to what the cops did,” he stated.
“However, they put themselves in a similar position by being… all there together, just as the demonstrators did.”
That – I was attempting to utilize that word as an inverted mirror image of that. The police were now the collected people, and the demonstrators were the assembled people. Both in perilous situations, but in no way insinuating, encouraging, or advocating that someone should pose a threat to another.”
Mr Flanigan was featured on NY1 in the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak for his musical tributes to first responders. He expressed support with Black Lives Matter demonstrators to the station.
Coney Island Prep, a public charter school, has declined to comment on many occasions.
Separately, actress Jacqueline Guzman was fired from her New York City theatre company on Saturday for making online comments about the burial that she described as “f**king absurd.”