NYC Protests Police Brutality with #ShutDownA14
Tuesday night, dozens of protesters were arrested during the first demonstration against police brutality in New York since the killing of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December. The protest was orchestrated by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, run by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West, with a Facebook event and updated on Twitter and Instagram with #ShutDownA14. Demonstrators met at 2PM by Union Square where the names of people recently killed in instances of police brutality were named in a tense silence. Impassioned speeches came from Dr. West himself, Eve Ensler, author of the Vaginia Monologues, and Nicholas Hayward, who lost his 13 year old son in 1994 to police brutality. Hayward preached to the crowd, saying, “For the last twenty years, I have been fighting to get this case reopened, and I will continue to fight.” The streets were filled with chants of “STOP MURDER BY POLICE,” “Harlem is Ferguson, Ferguson is Everywhere!” “The Whole System is Guilty!” “No Justice, No Peace!”
The demonstration moved all the way down Broadway to the Brooklyn Bridge, chanting, conducting ‘die-ins’, and stopping rush hour traffic on the way. The crowd eventually broke the barricade police made at the entrance of the bridge and made their way down Flatbush Avenue to the 78th Police Precinct. That’s when things started to get violent with reports coming from both police and protesters about the brutality of the other. Police announced that two officers were injured during the march, one off-duty officer who got punched in the face after getting into a heated verbal argument with protesters who blocked his vehicle, and another officer who was hit with a bottle near the precinct. On the other side, dozens of photos from Instagram and Twitter have flooded in of protesters’ injuries due to police brutality.
De Blasio released a statement saying that “any other person who might use the right to peaceful protest as cover to initiate violence, cause mayhem or incite disorder — whether against the police, the people or property of our great City — should consider themselves on notice that New York City will not stand for it.” The past three years have been a tense and politically charged time for Americans, who feel like they cannot trust the system in place that is meant to defend them. From the so called ‘vigilante justice’ taken by George Zimmerman against Trayvon Martin, to Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson, to the most recent shooting of Walter Scott just a few days ago, the murder of unarmed black civilians needs to come to an end. The list of names is too long, and too many families are mourning. In all of this chaos we are left to wonder, how can a people combat the system that was meant to protect them? Until we can find a way, there can be no justice, no peace.
All photos taken from the #ShutDownA14 tag on Instagram