On Tuesday, April 14 over a thousand people participated in the “Stop Murder by Police” march and demonstration sponsored by Stop Mass Incarceration Network, co-founded by Carl Dix and Cornel West. There were two feeder marches coming from uptown, which converge at Union Square around 2:30 p.m.
The marchers carried signs and placards on poles and chanted in the call and response style slogan such as, “Hands Up!, Don’t Shoot!,” “Who’s Streets?, Our Streets!,” “No Justice!, No Peace!,” “Black Lives Matter!,” “NYPD, KKK, How Many People Have you Killed Today?,” “Who’s Streets?, Our Streets!,” “You Can’t Protect Us!,” “A People United, Can Never Be Defeated!,” “The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!,” “Shut It Down!,” “I Can’t Breath! I’m Going to Die!,” “What Do We Want? Justice! When Do We Want It? Now!” “We Are the People, and We Are Angry!” The air was charge with energy and the protesters were in high spirits. All segments of the population were represented: teenagers, young adults, middle age, senior citizen, male, female, straight, gay, Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheist, blue collar, white collar, students, and workers, Black, Latino, Asian, and white. It was truly an equal opportunity participation march.
In Union Square, Dr. Cornel West addressed the marchers, urging them to love everyone and stand up for those who are oppressed throughout the world. He then noted, “Don’t be confused by some black faces in high places. For seven year’s there’s been our black and brown brothers and sisters shot down by the police. Black president, Black attorney general, Black cabinet secretary of Homeland Security and not one policeman sent to jail…something just ain’t right.”
From Union Square the protesters carried the march down Broadway. Somewhere in the middle of the marchers were Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Cornel West and Carl Dix march organizers, marching arm in arm and being interviewed by reporters as they marched. Carl Dix said, “There was a question about whether the movement was alive. This is the answer. There are over a thousand people here with us today. People here are saying that police getting away with murder, must stop! Must stop! This situation where the police feel they have a green light to brutalize and murder Black and Latino people must stop. This is the first of many marches” First of many that question.
The march traveled down Broadway, but at Worth Street the police stopped the marchers with a barricade of police and police vehicles. They would not permit the march to continue down Broadway. After some back forth between the police and marchers, the marchers took a detour and turned down Worth Street and then proceeded south to the Municipal Building and Brooklyn Bridge. The police were at the bridge in force with a contingent carrying plastic hand binders and ready to arrest anyone entering the roadway of the bridge. The protesters having been prevented from entering the bridge roadway at the Manhattan entrance proceeded to cross the bridge via the walkway. At some point marchers were able to enter the bridge roadway, and stop traffic in both directions. The police managed to clear the protesters from the bridge roadways and in the process arrested 42 of the protesters. Some protesters continued the march down Flatbush Avenue to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.
The cause of the marchers was galvanizing by the April 4 fatal shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina. The shooting was captured on video, and the officer has been charged with murder.
Nicholas Heyward Sr., whose son Nicholas Heyward Jr. was shot dead at age 13 in public housing by a police officer 20 years ago while playing cops and robbers with a toy gun said, “What this protest right here is about is that too many are being murdered. I have been fighting for the last 20 years to get that case reopened. It’s painful because not only do I have to wait, but while I’m waiting, I am constantly seeing innocent victims gunned down on the street for no reason at all.”
A call for “No Business as Usual” to stop police killings, brought demonstrations and protest from coast to coast, San Francisco to New York City, from Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Charlotte, Ferguson, Houston, LA, Gainesville, Tucson, Seattle Fresno, San Diego, San Jose; Riverside all had marches on April 14, with the call to “Shut It Down!”
Another group of protesters, led by Justice League NYC, has embarked on a 250-mile trek to Washington from New York City to demonstrate against police-related deaths. They were due to reach the National Mall on April 21.
On Thursday, April 16 dozens of protesters gathered near City Hall in a peaceful continuation of the anti-police brutality protest. This time the protesters were demanding that all charges be dropped against the 42 people who were arrested on Tuesday.
Copyright: 2015 Ankhra House, Ltd.