Southern Brooklyn

South Brooklyn hosts third straight peaceful Floyd protest as nearly 500 walk through Bay Ridge, Sunset Park

June 4, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
South Brooklyn hosts third straight peaceful Floyd protest as nearly 500 walk through Bay Ridge, Sunset Park
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A third protest against the killing of George Floyd by an ex-Minnesota police officer was held in the South Brooklyn area.

On Wednesday, June 4, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a coffee shop at Bay Ridge Avenue and Third Avenue for a rally against police brutality and systemic racism.

The large group then walked through Sunset Park and to the Barclays Center, where most of the Brooklyn protests have taken place.

The flyer for the event was called “Black Power Movement.” It was advertised to be a peaceful protest where attendees would only march on the sidewalks, not engage with rioters or interact with law enforcement.

It also included the hashtag #muslimsagainstpoliceburtality.

Photo courtesy of Cathy Williams

A police officer who worked during the protest says that it was successfully organized.

“It was a peaceful demonstration,” the cop told this paper. “They set the tone early by telling everyone to remain on the sidewalk. They walked along Fifth Avenue [when they arrived at Sunset Park]. They didn’t stop at any of the local precincts. About 500-600 people showed up and everyone was compliant when told to remain on the sidewalk.”

The protest included a very diverse group.

“[It had all races] and it looked like a lot of Latinos were joining in when it arrived in the Sunset Park area,” the cop added.

Protesters were proud about how the day went. Cars drove by the large group honking their horns in solidarity. Many of them chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.”

Photo courtesy of Katherine Walsh

“[I] went today,” wrote one protester via Facebook. “Was amazing. Lots of love and peace.”

“Very proud of the protest [what] Sunset Park did,” wrote another protester. “[It was] very respectful. No looting. No rioting.”

David Estrada, executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District, also expressed his feelings on the protest.

“The march for justice in Sunset Park on Wednesday added to our neighborhood’s long history of fierce, peaceful protest,” he told this paper. “I felt the pain and anger that my neighbors are compelled to express. I also witnessed the hope and energy we’ll need to heal as a city and nation. The merchants of Fifth Avenue were understandably concerned about safety after reports of violence and looting in other areas. That’s why I was so inspired to see Sunset Parkers share mutual respect without compromising political expression.”

Photo courtesy of Protect Sunset Park

“I participated in yesterday’s march alongside Sunset Park neighbors to call out the deep racism built into our institutions and support #BlackLivesMatter,” said Katherine Walsh, a candidate for the Assembly in the 51st District. “It was a peaceful march from Bay Ridge to Barclays. New York State must repeal #50-a, the police secrecy law, and the other toothless laws that don’t actually change the violence directed at communities of color. The fact that it’s taking this crisis to get our elected [officials] to act shows the failure and stagnancy of our current leadership.”

However, elected officials who represent Sunset Park were pleased with how the day went.

“Peaceful protest is a tenet of American democracy,” said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “Each of us has the right to protest and let our leaders know how we feel. We should never limit free speech or the right to assemble peacefully. I value and respect our friends and neighbors who led a successful walk through Sunset Park without incidents. As we learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’”

Photo courtesy of Cathy Williams

“Sunset Park is making its voice heard, and I stand with them,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “As I said yesterday, I will not vote for a city budget that does not significantly defund the NYPD and reinvests that money back into our communities.”

“I’ve spoken with some of the organizers – youth from a local mosque – and they are excited to make their voices heard in a peaceful protest,” Councilmember Justin Brannan said prior to the event.

Photo courtesy of Protect Sunset Park

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