The Brooklyn teacher whose Instagram post appeared to encourage violence against police mourning murdered cop Jason Rivera claims his post was “misinterpreted” and that he was only commenting on the “vulnerability” of the mob of officers.
Chris Flanigan said he has received death threats over his since-deleted Instagram story, which shows an overhead view of officers flooding Fifth Avenue for Rivera’s funeral, captioned: “05/30/20: NYPD SUV drives into on a crowd of protesters.Ideal conditions for reciprocity.”
“I was really just trying to show the vulnerability of all these police officers being in the same place at the same time, which seems like a dangerous situation for anyone who would gather,” Flanigan told The Post Sunday.
“I respect the NYPD. I do not condone violence,” he continued. “A 22-year-old police officer who was murdered on the job is reprehensible. I am devastated. I am devastated that his partner died a week later. Those are not the things that suit me.”
Flanigan, who teaches at Coney Island Prep, said he posted the post Friday night but deleted it the following morning after two friends, including one who is an agent, commented and “asked what I meant by the post.”
“I hadn’t thought about it for the rest of the day, thinking I’d have done the right thing by removing it because I didn’t want anyone else to misunderstand or misrepresent myself in a way that’s how it gets observed,” he said.
“I realized the way it was framed looked like I was trying to incite violence and that wasn’t what I wanted from that post at all, so I immediately deleted it.”
The incident Flanigan is referring to was when an NYPD vehicle drove through a group of protesters in Brooklyn in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Flanigan insisted he simply compared the crowd of protesters to the massive police turnout for Rivera’s funeral Friday in Manhattan.
“I was trying to show the vulnerabilities among all the police so close together,” Flanigan said. “No one should be on that ground as they were. I thought it was too vulnerable and I tried to draw a parallel between those two things.”
When asked about his use of the word “reciprocity,” the math teacher claimed it was not intended as a call to violence against the police.
“Not in the sense of people driving or doing anything similar to what the police did,” he said. “But they put themselves in a similar position … being all together and it’s similar to how the protesters were.
“That – I tried to use that word to almost be the inverted mirror of that. The police were now the people who had gathered and the protesters were people who had gathered. Both in dangerous situations, but not at all. imply or instigate or promote in any way that someone should be a danger to someone else.”
Flanigan wax profiled by NY1 for his musical tributes to first responders in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. He told the station that he felt solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters.
Coney Island Prep, a public charter school, has not returned multiple requests for comment.
In a separate incident on Saturday, actress Jacqueline Guzman was fired from her New York City theater company over her online comments about the funeral, which she called “f–king ridiculous.”