Here’s the latest:Jon Batiste Leads Musical Black Lives Matter Rally At Barclays Center
6 p.m. Hundreds of people gathered outside of Barclays Center this Friday afternoon for “WE ARE: A REVIVAL,” a Black Lives Matter rally and musical celebration led by Jon Batiste. It was a peaceful and jubilant rally, with Batiste imploring people to make sure they sign up to vote, with a table set up to help register people. Batiste, impressively, wore both a face covering and gloves while playing piano.
You can check out a few clips of him performing in the video below.
Batiste, who is the musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, billed this event as “a celebration of Black lives through live music.” Batiste also held a similar musical rally in Manhattan last weekend, which a included a New Orleans-style second line marching throughout from Union Square to the Empire State Building. He talked about it with Colbert last week as well:
Bronxites Return To “Battle Of Brook Avenue” Site To Demand NYPD Resignations
Protesters at 136th Street and Brook Avenue in Mott Haven on Friday afternoon
JB NICHOLAS / GOTHAMIST
4:45 p.m. Dozens of protesters are gathered at the site of last week’s South Bronx demonstration — in which the NYPD trapped, brutalized and arrested peaceful demonstrators en masse — to demand the resignation of the officers involved in the violent operation.
Marisol Montalvo, a 27-year-old from Fordham, said she’d returned to the corner of 136th Street and Brook Avenue “to stand up for my community. To let the community know that this is not okay.” She was among the group of more than 250 people — including legal observers and essential workers — arrested during the march last Thursday, which she deemed “The Battle of Brook Avenue.”
“[The police] need to be more ethical with people,” she added. “We are all human. We are not the worst of the worst. I was disappointed. I went home and I cried.”
The impassioned but relatively small number of protesters were met on Friday afternoon by roughly 40 NYPD officers, who trailed the group closely as they conducted an educational tour along Fordham Road. Demonstrators chanted “quit your job” and “go home” at the officers, who stood silently with arms crossed.
A portion of the NYPD presence across from Mott Haven protesters on Friday afternoon
JB NICHOLAS / GOTHAMIST
Asked about last week’s aggressive NYPD response, Deputy Inspector Robert Gallitelli, the commanding officer of the nearby 40th Precinct, told one protester: “There was a lot of stuff floating on social media that there might be violence and things of that nature. The group that held that event held three previous events and there was violence at all three.”
Galltelli went on to repeat Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s initial claim that officers recovered gasoline and guns from protesters. The NYPD has since clarified that no gasoline was found on protesters. A firearm was recovered several hours before the event, several blocks away from the rally site, inside a car whose driver had no apparent link to protesters.
“It’s P.R.,” said Montalvo. “It is [to] dehumanize people from the Bronx more.”
Shellyne Rodriguez, an organizer with Take Back the Bronx, who was also arrested last Thursday night, said the hefty police presence in response to a low-key educational event was proof that the department should be defunded.
“It’s a new motherfucking day,” she said. “All these young people here are not taking this shit no more. What’s more, they get together with the older generation like myself and we putting our heads together. We running you out this motherfucking town.”
Cuomo Signs Law Repealing 50-A, Offers “Community” Plan For Police Reform
12:42 p.m. Flanked by the Reverend Al Sharpton, the leaders of both houses of the state legislature, and the mothers of Sean Bell and Eric Garner, Valerie Bell and Gwen Carr, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill passed earlier this week repealing state civil rights law 50-A, which shielded police disciplinary records from the public for 44 years. The state legislature also passed a set of modest police reform bills that have been kicking around Albany for years.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate majority leader from Westchester, said the passage of 50-A stirred up memories of Bruce Springteen’s song “American Skin (41 Shots),” about the NYPD’s killing of Amadou Diallo, in 1999. Diallo, an innocent man, was shot by the NYPD 41 times after he pulled his wallet out of his pocket. All the officers charged were eventually acquitted.
“I thought that was the moment when people outside of Black and Brown communities would finally get he message that bad things were happening. That refrain: ‘You can get killed just for living in your American skin.’ I thought it would ring a note, but it didn’t. So here we are,” Stewart-Cousins said.
The lawmaker also talked about her youngest son being stopped and frisked by the police, and the fear she felt when she found out he was in police custody.
Every parent, every mother, who looks like me understood that scary notion, with our kids, with our husbands, with our brothers. I got that call when my youngest son was only 18 years old and he was, quote-unquote, on the wrong side of town. He was stopped and frisked, and the next thing I know we’re in the ER because he had a fractured nose. Thank God I was able to bring him home. I ache for Gwen and Valerie. I understood that. I want to be clear. Obviously every police officer is not a bad police officer. My brother Bobby was a police officer, was a transit officer…He left after six years because he was convinced that the system was designed so that every young black man would have a record…We know this [bill] isn’t a cure, we know that this is the beginning, but it’s a move to bring justice to a system that has long been unjust.
“Police reform is long overdue,” Cuomo said right before he signed the bill, invoking the names of Rodney King and Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others. The governor announced that he would be signing an executive order affecting every police department in the state.
“Sit down at the table with the local community, address these issues, get to the root of these issues, get a plan, pass that plan by your local government, and if you don’t, you’re not gonna get any additional state funds, period,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to be subsidizing improper police tactics.”
It’s not exactly clear what specifically will be required of the police departments, or whether they will actually be persuaded by the governor’s order.
For instance, a tiny fraction—less than 1 percent—of the NYPD’s funding comes from the state.
Asked about the Minneapolis City Council’s decision to take steps to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and redirect that money to social services, Cuomo suggested that his order allowed for these kinds of negotiations, but said that he couldn’t imagine a society without police.
“I don’t think it’s practical that you can have a society without public safety. You need pub safety,” Cuomo said. “What is public safety in 2020 may be different than it was in 1950. But you have to decide that, right?”
Cuomo added, “Community, what do you want? Tell me what you want.”
Asked whether he would support current legislation reforming the state’s parole system, which he has overseen for nine years, and which was recently described in a report as rife with “structural racism,” Cuomo was noncommittal.
“Well, you’d have to see what the legislation says and what the reform is and if it makes sense, I would consider it.”
After Cuomo signed the bill, Carr and Bell asked the governor if they could speak. The governor seemed surprised. “Please, go ahead,” he said.
“It was a long time coming, but it came,” Carr said.
De Blasio Defends Curfew, Again
When asked how he would grade the police, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his Friday press briefing that he doesn’t give grades, but he saw “mostly peaceful protests, some people acting as criminals only, but if you look at overwhelming number of people engaged, it was peaceful. most police did job well and with restraint.”
In spite of reports of essential workers being for allegedly violating the curfew (the curfew did not apply to them), De Blasio also defended the curfew, calling it “the right thing to do, because it helped overcome violence and attacks on property that cause damage to city.”
“The second we saw [violence] was not happening, we pulled off the curfew, but that doesn’t mean police did everything right,” he admitted.
Dave Chappelle Discusses George Floyd’s Murder In New Special
Netflix dropped a half hour special from Dave Chappelle on its YouTube channel on Friday, featuring the comedian’s commentary on the police killing of George Floyd. Called 8:46, referring to the length of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, Chappelle performed on June 6th, in front of a socially distanced audience wearing masks.
“People watched it, people filmed it, and for some reason that I still don’t understand, all these fucking police had their hands in their pockets,” he said. “Who are you talking to? What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for eight minute and forty-six seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God. That’s what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop. It’s for all of it.”
He also confessed, “I didn’t watch the tape for a week… I knew, I saw a still picture, I don’t want to see this because I can’t unsee it. When I finally watched it, I understood—nobody’s going home. Anybody who sees this, well, they’re gonna be furious.”
Here’s a running list of protests planned for Friday, June 12th:
Barclays Center (Khutbah, Prayer, and Protest) 12:45 p.m.
Asser Levy Park (Coney Island Boardwalk March and Panel) 1 p.m.
Herbert von King Park (kids protest) 3 p.m.
Williamsburg Monument, Continental Army Plaza (Skate) 3 p.m.
Myrtle Broadway (Parade Protest party) 4 p.m.
Barclays Center (Jon Batiste We Are) 5 p.m.
Saratoga Park (March) 5 p.m.
Grand Army Plaza (bike ride) 6 p.m.
Metropolitan Detention Center, 29th Street and 3rd Avenue (Protest) 6 p.m.
Cadman Plaza (Socially Distant Theatre) 8:30 p.m.
Union Square (protest) 11:30 a.m.
Trump Tower (march) 1 p.m.
Duke Ellington Circle (march) 1 p.m.
Union Square (march) 1 p.m.
Bryant Park (protest and bike ride) 1 p.m.
Union Square (protest) 4 p.m.
Washington Square Park (protest) 4:30 p.m.
Marcus Garvey Park (protest)
New York Supreme Court (prayer hour) 6 p.m.
Frederick Douglass Sculpture, corner of Central Park West and Central Park North (rally) 6 p.m.
Between Merrick and Springfield Boulevard 2 p.m.
Court Justice Square (Quiet gathering) 6 p.m.
1010 East 174ht Street (Protester & Prayer walk) 5:30 p.m.