What I saw at the #ThankYouNYPD Rally and Marches


On December 19th, a small group of protesters rallied outside City Hall in support of the New York Police Department amid criticism of excessive force in the cases of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley.

Both sides showed the worst of themselves that day.

First of all, the NYPD’s handling of these two protests was extremely weird. They set up two barricades, one side for the anti-police demonstrators, and one for the pro-police.* In the middle was a kind of de-militarized zone where only the press and police were allowed to mingle. Yet, inexplicably, the police allowed protesters from the counter demonstration to slip into the middle and antagonize the pro-NYPD demonstrators.

I saw a woman who–to be fair–was doing nothing more than dancing and blowing a whistle, to be allowed to dance right in front of the pro-NYPD supporter for fifteen to twenty minutes without challenge. When the police finally did decide to ask her to leave, she left peacefully, dancing off into the distance. The only question is, why did they wait so long when the NYPD supporters were getting more and more agitated as time went on?

Eventually, things did boil over for a minute when a police brutality demonstrator managed somehow to get to the front of the freedom cage for the NYPD supporters, raising a sign that said “Watch the Watchers” She proceeded to chant anti-police slogans in their protest zone. One of them got so agitated that he violently grabbed the woman’s sign away from her. Whether she was justified or not in her view, she was obviously looking for a confrontation and she got what she wanted. The NYPD supporter, who took the sign from her, also grabbed a journalists camera for some reason. He then claimed that the journalist was “supporting criminals.” Both of these activists were feeding off each others dogmatic black and white view of the world.

The event was not all terrible though. Union leader Stan Williams and a man who may or may not have been a former police officer in East New York, had an intelligent conversation about police violence and income inequality. This was the one discussion between the two sides that did not end in tears.

Later on that night, I walked with the anti-police demonstrators somewhere near Wall Street. As the protesters chanted ‘No justice, no peace,’ he remarked out loud that the protesters probably didn’t know how to spell the word, “Justice.” I turned my camera on and asked, “How do you spell justice?”

His response was violence and anger.

If I were to have anything taken away from the things I’ve witnessed last night, it is that there needs to be more conversations and less yelling and screaming at each other. If we only speak our minds while refusing to listen, these problems can never be solved.

The anti-police demonstrators have justifiable grievances and they must be listened to. But I don’t agree with the antagonistic methods that were used. Violence should never be a resort towards questions that are uncomfortable or points of view that you don’t like. If our nation is no longer one of reason but dogma, we are in serious trouble.

DSC_3404 DSC_3406 DSC_3408

#MillionsMarchNYC attracts 50,000 plus protesters. Videos/Photos


It all started with a single event page post by 23 year old Synead Nichols and turned into one of the largest protests against police brutality since the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who killed the unarmed 18 year old black man Michael Brown. Protesters marched in support of those killed by police in NYC such as Eric Garner and, more recently, Akai Gurley.


The protests were largely peaceful with only one documented arrest. The police seemed to have taken a very hands off attitude towards the protesters, even in areas where there was no permitted march. Only time will tell whether this sort of organizing will translate into lasting change.

DSC_3140 DSC_3141 DSC_3145 DSC_3147 DSC_3154 DSC_3166 DSC_3171 DSC_3172 DSC_3175 DSC_3186 DSC_3237 DSC_3246 DSC_3281

Riots: The Language of the Unheard


President Obama, live on CNN, called for calm and peace whilst rioting was occurring on the opposite side of the screen after the Grand Jury announcement that Officer Darren WIlson would be not be charged in the killing of unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown.

I cannot think of anything more insulting than the President of the United States calling for peace and calm and then doing little to nothing to avert the situation we are currently facing. CNN commends the lack of rioting in NYC in response to the shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as the “way it should be” but how long will their supposed restraint last?

Apparently, it already ended when the Village Voice reported (  http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2014/12/nypd-arrests-200-eric-garner-protests.php ) that a Long Ranged  Acoustic Device, or LRAD was used and over 200+ demonstrators were arrested on the streets of NYC. For those who don’t know, an LRAD is a military sonic grade weapon that could permanently destroy your hearing.

In circumstances like this, it is not hard to imagine a scenario where these protests could potentially turn violent. In fact, if you watch the following video, you can see the protesters panicking and becoming agitated after they are attacked.

There are one of two things that someone could conclude if they are honest about the policing and policy tactics of the NYPD: either they are insane, or they want riots. After all, rioting is an excellent excuse to crack down on protesters. We might see it soon too if the cop who shot Akai Gurley is not indicted. Personally, I don’t know if the city–or the country–can take another non-indictment. Yet this keeps happening continuously over and over and over again throughout the country. It’s been happening for awhile, yet only recently the media has been picking up on these things and, for that, a huge thanks is owed to social media (fuck you, Robert McCulloch).

I think it would be very arrogant of me to make a prediction about these types of things, however I can’t see this ending in a way that doesn’t involve violence. But we must remember that non-violent civil disobedience, whilst preferable, cannot work if the people in charge systemically use violence to crush the opposition. I’m sure if I urged Syrians, Palestinians, and other oppressed groups world wide to adopt a Martin Luther King JR type approach to resistance, I would be laughed out of their respective countries.

To be clear, I am in no way condoning violence. However, I think people need to shut up a little more and listen to those who are protesting rather than condemning them as “cop haters” or whatever. The strategy of crushing dissent and hoping the anger fades or otherwise disappears is absurd.

I could say the now cliched mantra that “not all cops are bad” but at this point, that means absolutely nothing. It might be true, but the system is fucked up and if you don’t agree, you are fucking wrong. Period.

So what I will say is don’t hope for violence to spill over into NYC, but expect it, prepare for it, and be on the right side of history by condemning injustice no matter where it comes from.