New York City protesters demand police commissioner Bill Bratton be fired

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

The #ShutDownCityHallNYC protest was organized by a group affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement and is demanding Brattons termination

Protesters in New York City began occupying the park next to city hall in Manhattan on Monday, declaring they would not leave until police commissioner Bill Bratton was fired.

Organized by Millions March NYC, a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter movement, the #ShutDownCityHallNYC protest has been inspired by protesters setting up encampments in public spaces in Chicago and Los Angeles to fight for the abolition of the police.

We are planning an encampment, said Nabil Hassein, a 27-year-old Millions March NYC organizer from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Im going to stay as long as I can.

Were here to decolonialize and to liberate our territory and our land from these racist occupiers, said Vienna Rye, another organizer from Millions March NYC.

Protesters are planning to stay as long as needed whether that be days or weeks or longer. Food was already prepared, with rice and beans being cooked offsite and snacks of fresh fruit, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches available for hungry protesters. Local Starbucks and libraries were to be used as restroom facilities. A schedule has been written up for event organizers and others so they could balance paid jobs with the protests.

Organizers have specifically asked for people not to bring tents partly because during the Occupy Wall Street protests, incidents of sexual assault were reported in tents, and also because the organizers dont want people to try to claim their own individual territory.

Protesters
Protesters in New York Thursday. Photograph: Amber Jamieson

The park closes to the public at midnight tonight and that is when protesters expect police will attempt to kick them out. The fact theyre criminalizing New York City residents for being in the New York City parks demanding the New York City police stop killing us, its absurd that they would arrest us for that. Its also indicative of the system and the criminalization that is happening, said Rye.

There are three specific immediate demands the protesters are calling for:

  1. The termination of Bratton as police chief and the end to Broken Windows policing.
  2. The NYPD getting defunded and that money being put into black, brown and working class communities.
  3. Reparations paid to the victims and the families of police violence.

Josmar Trujillo, 34, an activist from New Yorkers Against Bratton, says mayor Bill de Blasio is a crooked ass fake liberal in his support of police commissioner Bill Bratton. Trujillo carried a sign with a photo of the commissioner, with the words wanted for crimes against humanity typed across the top.

Trujullo spoke of how Bratton was the supercop of America but that the movement wasnt just about him, it was about the wider NYPD and all police.

Cause blue lives have always fucking mattered in this city, said Trujillo, to cheers from the audience.

Asked about the protest at a city press conference today, Bratton said: I have no concern about being fired by this mayor at this time.

Two years ago today, the front pages of the city tabloids covered the visit of Al Sharpton to city hall, where he sat with the mayor and commissioner Bratton, to discuss the issue of black deaths at the hands of police after Staten Island father Eric Garner died from a police officers chokehold on 17 July 2014.

But as black people have been killed by police in a series of shootings and other violence over the last two two years, protesters say they are fed up with police officers getting away with murder.

Theres definitely a national conscience right now thats growing as we can see in Chicago and LA, and I think a lot of seeds that were planted in 2014 are starting to bloom now, said Rye, a 24-year-old from Queens.

Protesters had not discussed their plans with police at all We dont negotiate with terrorists, said Armie Jeffreys, 22, from Newark, New Jersey, one of the organizers of Millions March NYC but a police guard was heavily present by 11am. About three dozen police officers, including those from the disorder control unit, the strategic response group, park officers and plain clothes cops kept watch of around 40 protesters.

One organizer offered up specific tips to protesters about how to handle police, advising protesters to write phone numbers of legal help in permanent marker on their arms, to lock their phones and to be aware that anything they were carrying could be searched.

They recommended keeping phone batteries charged so they could film, but warned of getting consent of fellow protesters before uploading video and photos of them to social media.

Throughout the day, the crowd remained small mainly known activists and protesters but held workshops and lectures to discuss the history of policing and how the abolition of a police force would work. A larger crowd was expected from 6pm.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/01/new-york-city-protesters-demand-police-commissioner-fired-bill-bratton