- Nearly 1,000 protesters took to the streets in Brooklyn Friday night to demonstrate NYPD excessive force and fare evasion crack down plans
- The demonstrators waved anti-police signs, shouted obscenities, vandalized a bus and cop car, and jumped subway turnstiles
- The protest was sparked by two headline-grabbing incidents involving black teens on October 25
- Protesters also demonstrated against plans to hire more cops to police the transit system for fare evaders
Published: 01:16 EST, 2 November 2019 | Updated: 00:47 EST, 3 November 2019
Nearly a thousand protesters took to the streets of Brooklyn to demonstrate against the NYPD after a spate of violent arrests on the subway and over its plans to put more officers on the beat to catch anyone who skips paying the fare.
The protesters started gathering in Downtown Brooklyn near Barclays Center at about 7pm Friday, with their signs reflecting the dual nature of the march.
While flashier banners bore slogans such as ‘Don’t let these pigs touch us,’ ‘F**k the police,’ ‘Punch that cop’ and ‘NYPD out of MTA,’ other signs read ‘Free transit,’ ‘Poverty is not a crime’ and ‘Our subways need more $ for elevators, not for cops.’
Their grievances stem from two issues. One, alleged police brutality against New Yorkers including a group of teenagers who officers were seen fighting with in a recent viral video.
The other issue is that police have vowed to create 500 additional jobs specifically for officers to monitor the subway network and arrest anyone who jumps the barriers rather than pay the $2.75 fee.
Over the last month. several videos have emerged of NYPD cops violently arresting seemingly nonviolent subway riders.
One, which circulated last week, showed them pounding on the windows of a subway car, waiting for the doors to open, before rushing on board, tackling the man to the ground. It is unclear why he is wanted. He had his hands in the air for several minutes before they arrested him and bystanders say the officers drew their guns.
The demonstration was said to have been brought on in part by two headline-grabbing incidents involving the NYPD that occurred on October 25 at different Brooklyn subway stations, which drew accusations of excessive force by police
A video of the first incident showed at least 10 police officers storming onto a stopped subway car and tackling an apparently unarmed black man inside, sparking accusations of excessive force.
The 19-year-old, who had his hands up and was seated at the time of the incident, was thought to have had a gun, but did not. He was later charged with theft of services.
The second incident involved two groups of teenagers who were said to have been fighting on the platform. In the course of breaking up the fight, a police officer was caught on camera punching two black teens.
One of the teens was 15-year-old Benjamin Marshall, who was punched in the face. His lawyer said Tuesday that his family intends to file a $5million lawsuit against the officer and the NYPD, according to the New York Daily News.
Marshall ‘was the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ one protester told the New York Post Friday. ‘I mean, it’s monstrous. My f**king tax dollars are going to this? It doesn’t make sense.’
Protesters also complained about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent decision to add 500 new officers to NYPD’s force to patrol the transit system and root out fare evaders.
Over the course of the two-hour protest, participants blocked traffic, shouted obscenities at nearby officers, jumped the subway turnstile en masse and committed acts of vandalization.
One group of protesters was seen surrounding a MTA bus, vandalizing it with stickers and writing anti-police graffiti on it, while passengers were aboard, according to the New York Post.
Passengers told the newspaper that the demonstrators were ‘banging on the bus’ and that one ‘kid with a white mask and a hoodie’ used a marker to scrawl graffiti – ‘F**k NYPD’ and ‘NYPD KKK’ – on the bus.
‘I’m not gonna lie, it was scary,’ a passenger said after getting off the bus.
Videos taken during the protest showed people chanting ‘Shut this racist system down’ on the street, while those inside a subway station were seen standing behind a barricade and shouting ‘How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D’ while holding up their middle fingers at police officers standing a few feet away.
Meanwhile, one woman could be heard yelling ‘Hop that s**t!’ as dozens of people were seen jumping over subway turnstiles.
One demonstrator said they were there to protest the city’s decision to ‘Hire more cops. Beat people up who can’t afford to pay the fare’ as a response to increasing poverty in the city, NY1 reported.
The protest coincided with a series of President Trump’s tweets, which referenced the fact that New York City ‘great police are being disrespected’ because the city doesn’t ‘have their backs’
Police said that the protest was peaceful and that there were no arrests made, however it was noted that at least one police vehicle was vandalized with the words ‘NYPD KKK,’ according to Pix 11.
The protest started just as President Trump took to Twitter to condemn his now-former hometown after declaring that he was moving his family to Florida.
Among his many tweets, Trump wrote: ‘NYC is getting dirty & unsafe again, as our great police are being disrespected, even with water dumped on them, because a Mayor and Governor just don’t “have their backs.” New York’s Finest must be cherished, respected and loved.’