Monday, July 13, 2020

A Clash in Bay Ridge, Blue Lives meet Black Lives Matter! #bluekluxklan #MAGAts #blacklivesmatter #defundthenypd #endracism




"katebarnhart1975 posted "Fight back Bay Ridge needs bodies to counter the pro-cop/white supremacist rally tomorrow. Take the R train to 86th st. #blacklivesmatter #defundthenypd #endracism"
Photo. Abdullah Younus, who tweeted:
"I got clocked in the mouth at the Bay Ridge Counter
Protest today by a Soprano.
Anyone know who this guy is?"
The same man threatened myself and several others, as the police looked on.

"Erik R. McGregor is at Bay Ridge Bklyn.
Pro-NYPD marchers clashed with a big crowd of Black Lives Matter counterprotesters during the “Back the Blue” rally and march in Brooklyn on July 12, 2020. Tempers flared as the opposing camps faced-off on the streets of Bay Ridge. “What started out as a rally in support of the NYPD turned into a shoving match when counter protesters showed up to a “Blue Lives Matter”. Tempers flared as the opposing camps faced-off on the streets of Dyker Heights,” noted journalist Erik McGregor. “Pro-cop protesters  .show their opposition to the recent police budget cuts.  …The demonstrators apparently came together loosely, no one group taking credit for bringing the people there together.  The NYPD has faced tremendous scrutiny following the death of George Floyd, which sparked weeks of Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality.  Calls to defund the police and instead provide more resources to communities of color prompted the city to slash the department’s budget.  Many at the pro-police rally said the recent spike in gun violence shows that officers are essential to safety.”
© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963"



Mary Margaret Anderson, Blue Lives Matter Counter Protest, 7/12/2020

On the way back to town, I checked my messages

My friend Kate was worried about the Blue Lives Matter rally taking place in Bay Ridge,
the conservative outer periphery of Brooklyn. 
My friend Jay Walker posted a similar note:
“Yesterday, about 50 peaceful counter-protestors showed up at a Dyker Heights MAGAt/ blue lives matter shite show rally of hundreds of slimeballs and were attacked and spit on. A journalist was also attacked. The same slimeballs are holding another #bluekluxklan rally today in Bay Ridge. The groups organizing the counter protest NEED NUMBERS. PLEASE COME OUT AND OUTNUMBER THE #bluekluxklan #MAGAts

 I decided to join.
At 5 PM, I jumped on my bike, riding down Forth Ave.
At 77th street, the police stopped me, telling me I could not pass.
A group of white men were carrying large US flags, in a scary nationalistic display.
Flags scare me.
So do police.
“You can’t come in here,” they said, referring to pen with the flag wavers.
“Why?”
“No bikes are allowed.”
“Why” I asked.
“What’s the difference between bikes and pedestrians.”
“No bikes are allowed.”
A man started screaming at me.
“They say no bikes, you can’t question police.”
“Yes, I can question police.  We still have a constitution.  We still have a right to peacefully petition the government for redress of grievances.”
The police walked away, saying I could walk.
I locked up my bike and walked inside.
Some 25 white activists were inside.
A few men came up to me to ask what I was doing as I took snap shots and listened to their #blue lives rhetoric.  No one is questioning that everyone’s life, black or blue or green or yellow, has value or that we all have a right to march and speak.
In a democracy everyone does, even our opponents.
They can march and we can react.
Every action creates a reaction.
The police are responsible for a lot of harm a lot of pain.

As my friend Jay Walked puts it:

They are the one’s who killed George Floyd, who flout the law, acting as if it does not apply to them.

Watching the scene, I posted a few videos and photos.
“Scary scenes in Bay Ridge. #blacklivesmatter

“I notice the cops haven’t beaten anyone down or driven a vehicle into them. Odd,”
notes Yetshu Frank.

I walked back to my bike.
Rode around the block to 86th street and up to 80th on 4th Ave.

There hundreds of were marching.
On one side police advocates, on the other #Black Lives Matter activists.
The #blacklivesmatter activists speak for a multicultural image of democracy, of multiple voices able to find a space to speak.
With the aid of the police, the #bluelivesmatter resort to invective and a few threats.
Lined with cops, one said to me, "If the cops were not here I'd take you out."
Not exactly a blaze of glory or courage.
My Texas childhood comes up.
Without the police, I wonder how many threats of violence these overweight characters would be throwing, beer on their breath.

The crowd moves East and around the police barricades.

Black Lives Matter signs everywhere.

Cars and onlookers cheer us.

One man in a dark side of the moon t-shirt asks, “where are all the black people?”

It’s a protest for decency, not a merely identity.

Few want to defend the policing that has been going on the last few years, with stop and frisks, threats, arrests, and death to black motorists, joggers, people selling cigarettes, etc.

“Hey Cop, quit the blue mafia,” reads on sign.
“Stop protecting killers with your silence.”

“Italian American supports Black Lives Matter.”

“Close jails, build community.”

There are a lot more #blacklivesmatter activists than #bluelivesmatter activists, I tell Jay Walker, marching up 4th Ave.

Earlier in the day, he’d posted  a report from the Brooklyn Distinct Attorney Brooklyn DA report on wrongful convictions.
Earlier in the weekend, we heard that Trump commuted the sentence of his advisor Roger Stone for lying to congress.

The double standards are hard to bear.

We keep on marching up to meet another group of #BlueLivesMatter protesters, many wearing MAGA hats, carrying flags.

They approach us.
We approach them.
"Hands up, don't shoot!" we scream, "Allies in front."
A group of us create a wall separating the Black Lives Matter activists from the police and counter protesters. 

This clash of ideas, of sensibilities, is what life in the US is all about now.
The physical threats from them are many. Must be nice to have the cops on your side.
The clash of world views feels all encompassing.

“"It was a chaotic situation,” says Jay Walker, of Rise and Resist. “but the NYPD's deference to the Conservative Party's MAGAts-in-Blue was to be expected. Folks that went off showed up for the purpose of going off. The rest of us tried to deescalate."

All the Black Lives activists are asking for is for their communities to be treated with respect.


“Defund the NYPD.”

Linda Sarsour de escalated several conflicts among provocateurs targeting Arab activists.

As the night went on, police tasered one activist.

And the man who had been threatening me, punched another man in the face as the police looked on, doing nothing. Walker saw the man who threatened myself and Abdullah Younus.
“There was one neighborhood guy who was extremely aggressive and kept yelling threats at BLM protesters from behind the line of cops."

Kate Barnhart wrote: 
“Tonight’s march was very emotional for me because I have lived in Bay Ridge for more than 20 years and in that time I have dealt with a whole lot of harassment from conservative neighbors. Leaving the house, I thought we might be outnumbered and attacked like yesterday, but as I approached the meeting place, I saw a crowd already there and people literally pouring out of the subway and I teared up at the knowledge that we are not fighting alone out here…”

Its been a weird summer so far.
One night last week, a man ran up and down our street with a gun out screaming:
'I'm gonna fuck you up.' Its a tricky moment. We don't want more cops killing black men or anyone. We don't want people running around threatening people with guns. Can we address a few of the causes of such actions - unemployment, high rent, anxiety, anomie, alienation. Mental health needs are huge. The virus continues; NY sees an uptick, too many guns on the streets. Not enough support. Not enough jobs, too much poverty. And most certainly, bail reform has little to do with it. Sorry NYPD. The blame game doesn't work. People need support, not more revolving doors.

Ann Lee notes:
“Chicago also is seeing an uptick in gun violence. Cops could be corralling guns used indiscriminately instead of protestors. Ensuring public safety instead of withholding service as a power play; and how do we know about these power plays, because they've announced them in the past, sure in their power to intimidate, No More!”

This affects everyone.

New York activist Monica Hunken notes: 
“I had to leave my apartment for a few days because the construction in the building made it unlivable. Something told me to stay away a couple more days and it's a good thing I did. When I got home last night, I found my front window had been shot through and there was a bullet next to my bed. We're seeing a huge spike in shootings in in my neighborhood, Crown Heights, and other parts of Brooklyn.
Here is what Police Chief Monahan had to say:
From ABC7nyc:
"Through Saturday, the City has seen more than 500 shootings this year to date.
Gun violence has ramped up considerably this month.
Between June 19-27, 83 shootings happened, injuring or killing 112 people.
.....
Chief Monahan said there are a number of reasons for the increase including bail reform, the George Floyd protests and the animosity toward police officers.
"If you listen to the city council, they want less policing. They want to defund the police, but as I look out there right now with the violence going on, it's not a good sign. We need some clarity from the city council and from the communities we serve, exactly how they want to be policed," Monahan said. "
--------------------------------------------------
As more criticism and fear creeps in about the prospect of true abolition, we need to be vigilant in our preparations and educate ourselves more deeply about the nuances of abolition and what investing in community care really means. If we can envision it clearly, we can create it. So often we are tearing down and fighting back, desperately trying to keep up with the barrage of attacks from capitalist oppressive systems, we can forget to start planting seeds and growing what we need.
sure, as a woman living alone, its upsetting to find a bullet near my bed. But I want to think through this clearly, and not react from fear, I want to know my neighbors better. I want to reach out, rather than isolate.
I'm curious about your thoughts, how you're starting to model community care and safety through mutual aid efforts, cop watch, what? What's going on, people? What does safety mean to you?”




































































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