Reportback From Last Nights Fuck The Police March

Photo by Stephanie Keith

Photo by Stephanie Keith

On Friday, July 27th, more than 100 people gathered at the corner of 3rd Ave. and 99th St in El Barrio, Manhattan for a “Justice for Manuel Diaz” solidarity march. Manuel was now the second most recent person of color to become a victim of extrajudicial  execution by the Anaheim Police Department. Simultaneous demonstrations were also held in Oakland and Aniheim. Due to overwhelming numbers of NYPD and large arrest vehichles, the marchers waited until dark, dispersed, and met up again at the corner of 110th and Lexington, 12 blocks away and right next to the Young Lord’s “People’s Church” from 1969. Almost from the beginning of the march, NYPD scooters had caught up, yet the change of starting point threw off the police vans positioned throughout the few block radius surrounding 99th st. We marched up Lexington to 118th street, while surprised and pleased residents cheered us on and gladly took fliers about the march and NYPD misconduct.

Many neighbors and shopkeepers raised fists and shouted along with the marchers’ chants of “From Anaheim to New York Streets, Stop Police Brutality,” “We won’t be silent until the cops are not violent,” and “No Justice, No Peace, Fuck the Police.” The march turned on 118th street and went over to Lenox, up to 128th street, made an abrupt reverse past a handful of expensive restaurants, and marched over to Adam Clayton Powell Government building, following suggestions from Harlem residents. After an inspirational anti-police brutality mic-check, marchers ran through the carless plaza and took to 126th street, running against traffic, until NYPD scooters caught up with them, at least one recklessly driving fast up onto the sidewalk and almost hitting one man. The march continued up Lenox from there until 145th, led by a resident. When a handful of marchers left near 128th St, the rest continued, gathering Friday night revelers for 5 blocks stints inspired by the march’s message. There was some discussion about how far north the march should go, and whether it should continue into Washington Heights. Instead, we marched west on 145th to St. Nicholas and ended there, with no arrests and overwhelming community support. Because of the success of this march there is much interest in continuing this in other neighborhoods throughout the city. Community outreach to better inform the residents seems to be at the front of everyone’s minds.

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