Hundreds gathered in New York City’s Lower East Side to demand the firing of New York police officer Francisco Garcia, who was recently caught on video brutalizing and arresting a 33-year-old Black man named Donnie Wright in a disturbingly similar fashion to George Floyd.
The protest also was an act of solidarity with those in Minneapolis and across the country fighting against police brutality as well as the residents of New York City Housing Authority who are often targeted and harassed by NYPD.
The protest started on the corner of East 9th St. and Ave. D where protestors made their way through the streets with signs saying “Defund NYPD” accompanied by chants of “Black Lives Matter.”
After several pauses in the march, with protesters kneeling down in the face of riot cops blocking off the intersections, we made our way onto FDR Dr. crossing under the Brooklyn Bridge. As we took over the parkway, the chants got louder: “No Justice, No Peace.”
While on FDR Dr., and throughout the entire protest, onlookers from the surrounding building would clap and cheer as we marched past them — some with banners in their windows reading, “Justice for George Floyd.”
We got off of FDR Dr. and went back into the streets of Manhattan. With the 11:00 p.m. curfew fast approaching, the remaining protesters gathered at the corner of Broome St. and Ridge St. with police guarding the nearby fire station. One of the individuals leading the protest gave a speech where they called for the city to defund the NYPD and invest in the community — citing poverty manufactured by a government that doesn’t care about its residents as a cause of frustration.
Around 9:30 p.m., just before one of the organizers called for everyone to disperse and get home safely before curfew, he said, “This is just the beginning. We will fight. Silence is violence, and we will not be silenced!”