Tensions rose outside City Hall on Monday when approximately 200 anti-police protesters took over a portion of City Hall Park for more than 12 hours to condemn the supposedly racist actions of police officers and call for the “defunding” of the New York Police Department, according to the New York Post.
Millions March NYC, which has a somewhat similar agenda to Black Lives Matter, demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio remove Police Commissioner Bill Bratton from his post, put an immediate end to Bratton’s “Broken Windows” policing policy, and even provide reparations to victims of police brutality.
"We're not targets," Millions March organizer Cleo Jeffryes previously told gothamist.com, when the occupation was first being planned. "We're human beings. Bill Bratton is a racist and a bigot who's done so much to harm the black and brown community."
The group, which is also pushing for the complete abolishment of the NYPD — with its $5.5 billion budget to be shifted to low-income communities of color — started gathering at 9:00 AM. The provocative action was scheduled for Monday because it was the two-year anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. "Organizers plan to occupy space until demands are met," Millions March declared last week.
March organizer Jeffryes said that this new occupation is inspired by like-minded protests in Los Angeles that have demanded the resignation of police chief Charlie Beck.
As revealed by gothamist.com, the organizers of the City Hall Park occupation were set to conduct medical training to be prepared in case police might use tear gas to disperse the crowd, and even had plans to establish an Amazon account for donations if the occupation would have illegally continued overnight, past the park's midnight curfew.
Protesters at the gathering carried signs displaying such messages as, “We see police get away with murder.”
“We’re not interested in having any closed-door discussions with politicians. We invite them to come to the park and speak to the community,” one group member, Nabil Hassein, definitively stated.
In a rather incendiary message, Millions March sent out a tweet to its nearly 13,000 followers, asserting, “Yes we are anti-police violence. We are also anti-police.”
Despite originally pledging to remain in the park until their demands were met, the protesters decided to prevent a confrontation with police officers by leaving at midnight.
"Policing is a violent, anti-Black institution that originated as slave patrols," a Millions March guide claims. “We fight for the abolition of policing and prisons and will not be fooled or derailed by fake reforms like body cameras and so called community policing, which further increase the budget and power of the racist and brutal NYPD."
"They [police] enforce the white supremacists' hierarchy," Vienna Rye, a Millions March organizer, boldly asserted to the militant crowd.