They promised to return in larger numbers. On Tuesday, they did just that. Hundreds of people angry over the death of George Floyd and showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement marched for hours in Shirley.
The group started at the intersection of William Floyd Parkway and Montauk Highway, then at one point blocked both sides of Sunrise Highway near the William Floyd Parkway overpass before moving back onto the overpass and then back to their original area.
No one was reported arrested or injured, police said.
The protest followed one the day before, where two men were arrested for obstructing governmental administration and released with desk appearance tickets, while a pregnant woman fainted and was taken to the hospital.
Chants of “black lives matter!” and “I don’t see a riot!” echoed throughout the day, as protesters also called for all four police officers present when George Floyd died to be brought up on charges.
Currently, only Derek Chauvin, the officer seen in video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was been charged on Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Nakia Sparkmon, 27, of Mastic, a nurse’s aide who organized the protests, said she was concerned about the tone of some protesters.
While many urged peaceful demonstration, one woman’s car door was nearly opened as she was stopped along William Floyd Parkway. While whoever opened the door was quickly ushered away, the woman was left in tears.
“I know we’re upset. I know we’ve been oppressed, but this is not the right way,” Sparkmon said, adding that after yesterday’s protest she has received “a lot of racist, hate messages.”
She then urged a policeman to have a local leader on the scene speak to the community.
“Tell us you care about us,” Sparkmon said.
Jeanette Collier, of Shirley, said she came to the event in support of her son, who is black.
“It’s important that we stand united. Everyone is equal.”
As the police presence grew along the sides of William Floyd Parkway north of Montauk Highway, many with riot gear on, several protesters urged caution to avoid being arrested or injured.
One officer on the front line told several protesters that police needed to clear the streets so they and others didn’t get hurt.
“I get they don’t want to hurt us,” she said, “but why don’t they want to support us?”
He stated that police were showing support by helping to block the streets for hours.
Most of the crowd dispersed around 11:30 p.m.
DeQuan Wilson, 21, of Mastic Beach, who participated in both nights’ protests — addressing the crowds each time — said he made an appointment with a police official Wednesday morning to discuss protesters’ concerns and that would let the group know what was discussed.
Said Wilson: “We need to make a proper, peaceful stand.”
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