When the protesters reached their final destination, a demonstration in Washington Square Park, they allegedly faced police brutality, according to witnesses and organizers of the march. Videos posted on social media and broadcast on local television stations also appear to show police pushing and swinging batons at protesters with at least one officer using pepper spray.
NBC New York reported that after the “mass march,” the event took “a violent turn” after protesters began to “fight the police.” A station cameraman filmed a police officer shoving a protester with a baton with a cane, and reporter Chris Glorioso asked police present to comment on the push, reporting that “there is no context yet.”
According to NBC New York, the New York City Police Department confirmed that three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting officers, adding that the use of pepper spray and force on protesters occurred after police officers attempted Arrest one of them for allegedly destroying a police vehicle.
The Reclaim Pride Coalition released a statement after the march alleging that when protesters passed the Stonewall Inn, the site of the iconic 1969 Stonewall uprising, where gay bar patrons fought the NYPD in the midst of another raid, and were entering Washington Square Park, “a New York police officer stepped forward to arrest a protester (reason unknown and New York police will not say), and a crowd gathered to object, chanting ‘Let him go’ “
Suddenly, a large crowd of New York police officers rushed in and attacked with pepper spray. All he did was increase the crowd yelling at them ‘go home,’ while protesters tended to their pepper spray wounds, “the statement said.” A member of the New York City police approached to knock a woman to the ground. By bicycle, other protesters were beaten and pushed violently. “
Jake Tolan, one of the organizers of the Queer Liberation March, said he was not surprised by the turn of events and said that the New York police “should be abolished.”
“I wish I could say that what I saw today was shocking, but how could I reasonably expect anything more from the NYPD?” According to the Reclaim Pride Coalition statement, Tolan said: “51 years after the Stonewall Rebellion, New York police are still responding to peaceful, powerful and just queer joy with pepper spray, sticks and handcuffs.”
Marti Gould Cummings, an LGBTQ activist and candidate for the New York City Council, said they were present when police sprayed the crowd. When Cummings, who uses them / them pronouns, and her husband left the rally on the north side of Washington Square Park, “everyone started to raise their hands and say, ‘Don’t shoot, don’t shoot,’ and we all got down on our knees and we saw policemen they moved, which was strange, because it was a calm, beautiful and peaceful day, ”they said.
“The next thing we know is that they were putting pressure on people, some people had pepper sprayed right in front of us,” Cummings said. “It was crazy! On the anniversary of Stonewall? Like really?”
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