July 25, 2016: 6:00 p.m.
By MARK TOOR
|PATRICK J. LYNCH: Decries climate cops face|
Activists opposing what they call police violence against black people staged a sitdown July 13 inside the lower Manhattan headquarters of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, a move that did not endear them to the union’s president, Patrick J. Lynch.
At least five people were arrested at the protest, which was led by Black Youth Project 100 and the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice.
Looking for Justice
BYP 100 describes itself on its website as “an activist, member-based organization of black 18-35-year-olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all black people.” Million Hoodies says it is “a racial-justice membership organization confronting anti-black racism and systemic violence.”
Between two- and four-dozen people protested around 9:30 a.m. outside the high-rise office building at 125 Broad St. that houses the PBA. Some entered the lobby but were blocked by a security desk and turnstiles. Protesters sat down at the turnstiles and refused to leave when asked to do so by security guards. Police arrived and made arrests.
“We are here today to demand three things: disband the PBA, fire Officer Isaacs, defund the police and fund black futures,” a demonstrator said.
On his way home from work July 4, Officer Wayne Isaacs shot and killed Delrawn Small, who he said had physically attacked him during a road-rage dispute. A video and news reports raised questions about his account. Mr. Isaacs has been placed on modified duty while the NYPD investigates.
Housing, Not Cops
Protesters said public funds spent on police would be better used for affordable housing, improved education, and mental-health resources in black communities.
“These things have been proven to increase the safety of our communities,” said a second protester quoted by the ThinkProgress.org news site. “It has never been proven that the cops keep communities safe.”
The BYP 100’s organizing chair, Rahel Mekdim Teka, said on the group’s website, “The police are trying to manipulate the conversation. They are trying to manipulate all of us into believing that they are at risk. They are not at risk. Police officers are the threat.
Mr. Lynch said in a statement, “Today’s protest was a display of misdirected and misinformed anger that should have been pointed at City Hall, not the police officers who were on hand to protect the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.
“We always have protected that right, and we always will, provided it is done peacefully and legally. Chaining yourself inside private property and refusing to disperse when ordered is not legal.”
‘More Dangerous for Us’
“The climate police officers face is growing more dangerous by the day. Police officers are being shot at; that’s not ‘dialogue,’ it’s violence. We need our elected leaders to step up and say unequivocally that violent and illegal behavior will not be tolerated, and to support police officers, period.”
Washington, D.C. saw protests the same day by both groups, together with Black Lives Matter. About a dozen demonstrators blocked an intersection near the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 330,000 officers nationwide. The FOP closed its office for the day, with employees working in other locations.
“The FOP acts like a college fraternity and is responsible for maintaining the harmful, lethal, unethical and unaccountable culture of policing while the families and communities impacted when officers brutalize civilians are left to mourn with little, if any, semblance of justice,” said Clarise McCants, a spokeswoman for BYP 100.