Bayside’s Black Lives Matter group, along with other groups from Queens and around the city, marched toward the home of Pat Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
More than 50 people walked on the sidewalks from the Auburndale LIRR station to Lynch’s home. The demonstrators were almost immediately met by about four police cars and approximately a dozen officers on foot. People on bicycles acted as barricades between the police and demonstrators during their route.
Police barricaded one entire block near Lynch’s home, which is located at 203rd Street and 50th Avenue.
When marchers arrived to Lynch’s street, they were met with a barricaded block and more than two dozen officers, as well as PBA members behind the barricades and on the sidelines.
Demonstrators then took turns speaking about the PBA’s recent endorsement of President Donald Trump as well as what they said are “racist” statements Lynch has made in the past.
Jessica, an organizer with the Bayside BLM, who asked that her last name not be revealed for safety reasons, said several activists planned this action for some time.
“After the PBA’s endorsement of Trump, something that had not been done before, we felt the urgency to move forward with this action,” she said. “Patrick Lynch has been on the radar for years with his racist, bigoted statements; even being publicly criticized by previous police commissioners for his belief that police officers are above the law. For the PBA to endorse a president whose exact words were, ‘don’t be too nice’ when making arrests and whose entire platform is driven by racist and xenophobic propaganda is an absolute disgrace.”
At the demonstration, they talked about Lynch’s comments regarding a recent incident in Hell’s Kitchen, in which more than 30 police officers, including some in riot gear, kept Derrick Ingram — an activist with Warriors in the Garden, a large nonviolent group of advocates from across New York City — in his apartment for almost six hours. The officers left the scene after a few dozen protesters met them outside of his apartment asking to see a warrant.
The police did not have a warrant, but said Ingram was under investigation for allegedly yelling into an officer’s ear with a bullhorn, causing the officer to seek medical attention. Police have not provided video or other evidence of whether the incident occurred.
In response to the incident, Lynch said, “Is there any doubt who is in charge in this city now? The criminal mob is dictating their terms to the NYPD brass and district attorneys, who are tripping over themselves to comply. Police officers want to know: What are we still doing out here? Why are our leaders sending us out to enforce laws they don’t believe in? And what are we supposed to tell the New Yorkers who are watching us retreat while violence overwhelms their streets?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the NYPD for the standoff, saying it “was not the right way to do things.”
Jessica said the police actions that day — which included drones, helicopters, canine units and snipers — were “the biggest threat to our community.”
“Thanks to ProPublica we’ve uncovered that at every protest we’ve organized and attended, multiple officers facing us at the front lines have charges and settlements listed for misconduct and excessive force ultimately paid for by us, the taxpayers,” she added.
Jessica also presented police officers standing near the barricades with coins, symbolizing “NYPD Challenge Coins,” which are members-only memorabilia with roots in the U.S. military.
Protesters chanted “This stops today,” as well as some expletives calling for police accountability and for the NYPD’s $6 billion dollar budget to be defunded.
Lynch did not come out at any point of the demonstration. After about an hour, protesters left Lynch’s block to march toward Northern Boulevard and the 111th Precinct.
Police cars and officers on foot followed closely behind as the protesters marched. The demonstrators received some cheers and honks of support, as well as shouts of disapproval.
Like other instances of protests, the precinct was barricaded while demonstrators shouted more chants, including, “How do you spell fascist? NYPD!”
One Auburndale resident told QNS they’ve noticed barricades, not in use, near the precinct since the weekend.
Steve Gansham, a Bayside resident who said he’s neighbors with Lynch, joined the demonstration. Last year, Gansham was one of two men who live within a few blocks of Lynch’s home to have gotten arrested and charged with second-degree menacing and harassment, according to the Queens Chronicle. After an investigation, the case was adjudicated.
Gansham said Lynch “tried to put him in jail.” At the precinct, he shouted, “We want Lynch out of Bayside.”
The march then turned toward Bell Boulevard, where some demonstrators burned a small U.S. flag and left it on the pavement, where it extinguished with the wind.
The march ended at about 9 p.m., with protesters taking down the larger flag at the LIRR Bayside station. Many of them then got on the next train toward Penn Station, with some staying behind while four police cars stopped next to them and later patrolled the vicinity of the LIRR station.
QNS did not receive a response to a request for comment from the PBA regarding the demonstration, but Lynch told NY1 that the NYPD will “protect your right to protest wherever it can be done safely and legally, including in front of my house.”
“But these protestors should realize they are wasting their time. Their campaign of harassment and intimidation might have the politicians running scared, but it will have zero impact on the PBA,” Lynch added.
The NYPD did not respond to questions regarding the police presence at the protest.
Jessica said the people “refuse to foot the bill for the NYPD’s senseless and aggressive antics towards its citizens.”
“We demand change, and in light of the recent statement released by Patrick Lynch, the ‘campaign of harassment and intimidation’ which has been utilized by the NYPD first and foremost, will not have any impact on our movement,” she said. “We are not going anywhere. History has its eyes on you Mr. Lynch.”
This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.