Pro-police group and BLM clash in Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge
On Saturday, pro-police Back the Blue marchers gathered for a rally at Bay Ridge Parkway and 13th Avenue.
A video showed a rally attendee fighting with a BLM counter-protester, threatening to spit on her and using expletives.
“Saturday had about 1,000 people at it,” said Gerard Kassar, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. “There’s been a lot of talk about the incident in the beginning. It involved one person yelling at two people. What he said was offensive and disrespectful and wrong. They were yelling. [Police] just watched over it and it ended.”
“One individual used very disgusting language toward one of the protesters,” said Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis. “I condemn that abusive language.”
A photographer claimed that she was attacked and had her camera destroyed by a member of the pro-police group.
No arrests were made during the rally.
Tensions escalated at the Bay Ridge rally on Sunday. Hundreds of protesters clashed outside the 68th Precinct. Videos showed American flags being burned, eggs being thrown at a police officer, a police officer tasing a man, and a garbage can on fire at Senator Street and Fifth Avenue. The NYPD said the man who was tased had thrown a helmet at a uniformed officer.
“We are aware of the video,” said an NYPD spokesperson. “It is under review.”
Another video showed a woman being punched in the face by a man during an argument. As cops put the suspect in a van, crowds blocked it from moving forward.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan released a joint statement following the events.
“What we saw and read is deeply troubling and disturbing,” they wrote. “Violence by both protesters and counter-protesters, eggs thrown at police officers, people being pepper-sprayed, American flags being burned and inflammatory and hateful rhetoric spewed with venom.
“We want to be clear that this disturbing turn of events is entirely on the hands of the local organizers, elected officials and candidates that planned and supported this weekend’s marches and did not forcefully denounce the violence, racism and misogyny of [Saturday’s] protest in Dyker Heights.”
“Up until now, this district has set an example for the city on how to protest peacefully,” said U.S. Rep. Max Rose, “but those who acted violently, used disgusting language or threw eggs at the police do not represent who we should aspire to be. We are a community of compassion and tolerance and that comes from our political diversity, not in spite of it. We cannot — and I will not — allow for our community to be torn apart.”
Kassar, who estimated there were about 300 BLM protesters, said things got worse as the day progressed.
“Although this is being talked about as Black Lives Matter protests, in my opinion, there were a lot of Antifa people,” he said on Monday. “The individuals we encountered on 13th Avenue and yesterday were wearing the type of outfits, like body armor, that has been associated with Antifa but not Black Lives Matter.”
“Those who came to counter-protest yesterday came with the intention to be violent and to hurt not only pro-police protesters but police officers as well,” said Malliotakis. “The majority of them came from outside the neighborhood to start trouble. It’s disgusting and outrageous. Everyone has an American right to demonstrate and protest but it needs to be done peacefully.”
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