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Boro prez brings out new tool to re-examine, demand changes in policing: Men in suits

June 9, 2020 Nicholas Williams
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams organized a peaceful protest against police brutality alongside numerous businessmen, marching from Borough Hall to the 84th precinct on Sunday afternoon.

Over 100 Black businessmen gathered at Borough Hall, some dressed in black, blue, gray, and beige suits, along with other protesters and some members of the Vulcan Society.

The marchers passed Columbus Park and New York City College Of Technology while one man yelled “Say their names!” and the protesters responded in unison with the names of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The protesters were met with cheers from people on the street and cars honked their horns in support of the march.

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“Let’s be clear, we were intentional in asking the businessmen to come out in business attire and to take this march over to the 84 precinct because we are saying it doesn’t matter if you have on a blue suit and tie if you are in Black skin,” Adams said. “The call for justice is not only to ensure that we don’t have a knee on the neck of our brother but also the knee on the neck of our communities.”

“We represent lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, businessmen, real estate developers. We own tech companies. We are changing the world,” CEO of The Gentlemen’s Factory Jeff Lindor said. “But we need resources so that we can scale to another level, so as our society is saying Black Lives Matter, social justice, economic justice is like one hand clapping. So it’s important that we are included in this economic mobility. These amazing men right here, we have the capacity to build, we have the capacity to change the world but we need access, an opportunity, and financing to take us to the next level.”

The protesters lined up in three rows. Some held their fists up high while others carried signs saying “Black Lives Matter,” “BLM” and “Let’s Have Justice.”

Upon arrival at the 84th precinct, the protesters kneeled in solidarity in front of the building while chanting the names of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

“We are not here to burn down anything, we are here to build something, and the first part to do so is to change your posture,” Adams said, addressing the NYPD. “Change your posture of being offensive … we welcome those who want peaceful resolution. So when I walk down the block towards the precinct that my tax dollars pay for, you should not have a nightstick in your hand … ready to crack a skull. Change how you think and we will change how we feel about you.”

One protester, 75-year-old retired teacher Anna-Maria Thomas, was vocal at the event in support of the protest and advocated for Adams as Mayor.

“When I got there and saw all these beautiful Black men all in ties and suits, the way they put themselves together, I said ‘I got to stand here and hear what’s going on,’” Thomas said. “I am so ecstatic of the young people who are not letting this die.”

Earlier in the event, Adams also spoke about the FDNY and other organizations that should examine their own racial biases.

“The issue of systemic racism has permeated and saturated every agency in our city. It’s not just @NYPDNews that needs dramatic reform. @FDNY is one of the last great bastions of racism at the highest order. I stand — and kneel — proudly with the Vulcan Society. #BlackLivesMatter,” Adams tweeted on Sunday.

Sunday’s protest follows a large number of protests happening in not only New York City but around the world. The protests were sparked by the death of 46-year-old Minneapolis man George Floyd, who died on May 25 after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, until Floyd stopped struggling for air.

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot eight times and killed by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky after the officers forced themselves unannounced into her apartment on March 13.

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