Two men were arrested and a pregnant woman was transported to a local hospital for evaluation as dozens protested the killing of George Floyd and to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement in Shirley Monday night.
The protest started late in the afternoon at the intersection of William Floyd Parkway and Montauk Highway, with police blocking off traffic to make way for the protest.
A girl using a megaphone got the crowd going with chants such as “Black Lives Matter,” “No peace, no justice!,” “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
Some protestors also called the Suffolk County Police Department “racist.”
“What do you want?” the girl asked.
“Justice!” the crowd shouted back.
“When do you want it?”
Protest organizer Nakia Sparkmon, 27, a nurse’s aide who lives in Mastic, organized the event through social media starting yesterday and said she plans to continue to hold them. She said the protests may not always be in the Shirley-Mastic area, but other protesters later in the night promised to return and urged their friends and family to bring more people.
“I just want people to wake up,” Sparkmon said. “It’s a universal issue. It has not anything to do with color. It’s the simple fact that what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. If everybody believes that they can come out here so that other people can come out, too. So people see that we are serious about the situation.”
She said her greater goal is to see change and equality through legislation.
“We’ll be out here every day,” but she urged that she sought peaceful protests. She said police at the start of the protest handed out masks.
As the night progressed, the crowd marched north on William Floyd Parkway toward the Seventh Precinct.
At one point, they spread across both sides of the road, until they came across a line of police in helmets and wielding batons and a line of police vehicles that halted the march at Moriches-Middle Island Road.
Road closures stretched from Sunrise Highway to the Long Island Expressway.
Some, including a young girl using a megaphone, asked the officers to kneel with them in solidarity as has been done in several cities. A Stringer News Service video showed one officer taking a knee earlier in the protest.
As the night grew on, and two men were arrested for obstructing governmental administration. They were released with desk appearance tickets, police said.
A pregnant woman who apparently lost consciousness was carried into a van and police confirmed she was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
A brief scuffle broke out between one protester and a police officer. It was not clear how it started, but the protester promised to return. Most officers either tried to calm protesters or remained stoic amid taunts.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was on the scene later in the protest, which police broke up at about 10:15 p.m.
“Tomorrow night, we will double, if not triple the numbers,” the protester said to the crowd. Because they won’t understand without the numbers. Go home, bring the numbers back. Peaceful. Peaceful. You all see what they do day after day after day elsewhere. Make it happen here.”