Hundreds of protesters gathered in New York City Tuesday evening, showing they don’t plan to halt demonstrations, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to suspend their actions until the two NYPD officers killed over the weekend have been laid to rest.
About 300 demonstrators clogged city streets after gathering at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, proceeding as they’d planned weeks earlier. Followed by a trail of cops, they marched uptown toward Harlem, holding signs that expressed condolences to the families of the slain officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, while openly criticizing de Blasio’s request to pause protests.
“Let’s make sure they hear us!” an organizer shouted on a megaphone as the crowd gathered outside the 125th Street police precinct. By 10 p.m., several dozen new protesters from the Bronx had joined in, blasting music as police officers ushered people onto the sidewalk and threatened arrests for disorderly conduct.
“The mayor wants to use anything he can to stop the momentum,” Frank Sha Francois, a 49-year old public adjuster and community activist, told HuffPost. “The people have the momentum, and the attention of police and politicians, and we won’t allow them to stop us from bringing attention to police brutality.”
Tuesday also brought news that a Texas grand jury declined to indict Officer Juventino Castro in the deadly January shooting of 26-year-old Jordan Baker, an unarmed black man who Baker believed matched the description of a robbery suspect.
“I hate to say it, but that [non-indictment] is business as usual,” Sha Francois said. “Where [police] are free to do whatever they want to us.”