BY KEVIN DUGGAN
Thousands of protesters took to the street in Brooklyn for the fifth consecutive night on Tuesday to voice their anger against police brutality and racism toward black people — and a new 8 pm citywide curfew.
“I’m 20 years old, I’m just tired of it bro, you feel me, I’m just tired of it. Something’s got to change,” said a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, who only gave his name as EJ.
The protests have broken out in cities around the country after the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Tuesday evening marked the sixth night of demonstrations citywide. Protesters chanted Floyd’s name throughout the evening, along with other victims of police brutality — such as Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Kentucky woman police killed in March.
Citywide during Tuesday’s demonstration, police made approximately 280 arrests, while three police vehicles were damaged and two officers were injured, according to the NYPD’s preliminary data.
The marchers denounced the earlier curfew, which Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed up from 11 pm on Monday night to 8 pm on Tuesday, while more than doubling the amount of officers on the streets.
One veteran activist said the heads of the city and state are only making things worse.
“I was in LA when the Rodney King curfew happened,” said 52-year-old Queens resident Janice Pemberton. “I discovered that the curfew was only for poorer areas. When you went to Beverly Hills there was no curfew, so I decided, f— the curfew.”
EJ echoed Pemberton’s skepticism, and said authorities are just using the curfew to intimidate marchers.
“They’re just going to use it as another reason to come at us, they think that’s going to scare us, but nobody’s moving, we’re still here,” he said.
Tuesday’s march was organized initially by several dozen Christian organizations under the moniker “Prayerful Protest,” and kicked off at 6 pm outside the headquarters of Bridge Church on Fifth Avenue, between Warren and Baltic streets, in Park Slope.
At the outset, church leaders addressed the crowd urging them to not be violent, before taking off toward the local 78th Precinct, and on to the plaza at Barclays Center, where protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” and spoke about how their faith guides them to stand up against racism in law enforcement.
One Crown Heights protester said that he grew angry about the injustice due to his experience as a young black man and his Christian beliefs.
“We genuinely believe humans were made in God’s image, and more than just killing a human being, denigrating God’s image is a horrible horrible sin and not having someone who has done this punished to the fullest extend of the law is a gross injustice,” said the man, who only gave his name as Dami.
Once the 8 pm curfew hit — which officials said will continue nightly through Sunday, June 7 — the protests proceeded down Atlantic Avenue, with many of the organizing groups leaving the scene, toward the Columbia Street Waterfront District, as several residents cheered them on.
Atlantic ave residents cheering on. Very upbeat and dedicated atmosphere pic.twitter.com/T63IH8J2fq
— Kevin Duggan (@kduggan16) June 3, 2020
There was little police presence and no violence or property damage on the route, which snaked back inland through Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, and back to the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues near the sports arena. Back at Barclays, protestors took a knee and recited the names of black people killed at the hands of racists, from Emmett Till through to Trayvon Martin.
Silence except for names of those killed by police, and sirens in the distance pic.twitter.com/VlIrntF4aS
— Kevin Duggan (@kduggan16) June 3, 2020
About a dozen police in riot gear stood nearby at Modell’s and Atlantic Terminal Mall, and another larger group of officers watched from a distance at the Barclays square, though no major looting appeared to take place in Brooklyn. There were scattered reports of vandalism on Fulton Street, according to authorities, but the borough’s showing remained mostly peaceful.
Brooklyn protesters did endure a lengthy standoff with police on the Manhattan Bridge. About 2,000 demonstrators who marched from Brooklyn to Manhattan were met by a line of cops on the city side who would not let them in, nor would they let them turn back. After more than an hour, protesters were allowed to turn back, and they did so peacefully.
Let me get this straight: the NYPD trapped thousands of peaceful protesters — pedestrians — on a bridge last night for hours for no reason.
Did they think this was supposed to make them look good? https://t.co/d9VJL4rHKc
— claudia irizarry aponte (@clauirizarry) June 3, 2020
Meanwhile, several speakers took the floor outside of Barclays as crowds thinned out at around 10 pm, and one organizer vowed that protesters would return on Wednesday.
Just as the demonstrations unfolded, police fatally shot a shooting suspect at the Kingsborough Houses near Rochester Avenue and Bergen Street in Crown Heights in an unrelated incident, according to authorities.
This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.