It was a third day of protests in Shirley, as organizers moved to coalesce their outrage over the death of George Floyd into a unified message for change and said they met with police officials about how the protests are handled.
Wednesday’s gathering drew about 150 people, according to police. The group again marched up and down William Floyd Parkway near Montauk Highway and at one point Montauk Highway.
Today’s protest was cut short by a heavy downpour at around 9:30 p.m.
No one was arrested or injured, police said.
DeQuan Wilson, 21, of Mastic Beach, said earlier in the day that he was encouraged by a meeting he and several others had with police officials.
“It was a really good conversation. They said they would help as much as possible,” but that it was important to not block streets.
A Suffolk police spokesman would not confirm the meeting took place, aside from saying that officials meet with community members all the time, However, he said, the department does not reveal the content of those conversations.
Later in the day protesters could be seen at the corners of the intersection, while others sat in the middle.
Video captured by News 12 Long Island’s Christine Insinga showed protesters observing a moment of silence in Montauk Highway’s center median for nearly 9 minutes — representing the amount of time former officer Derek Chavin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
Wilson said he would like to see people running for office in November and elected officials join the protest to show their support, as well as religious leaders to share their voices through prayer.
Ashley Bond, of Manorville, returned for a second time to protest because, she said, “I’m sick and tired of innocent people getting killed.”
As the rain came down, Wilson said he and the others would return tomorrow, but that a larger-scale march was planned for Friday.
Wednesday, some people helping to organize the group wore yellow neon vests, as others handed out bottles of water. When the rain came, they urged protesters to go home.
“Tomorrow’s another day,” one man said.
Nakia Sparkmon, 27, of Mastic, said she received positive feedback for starting the protests, but they urged a more coordinated effort. Some volunteered to help.
“Friday’s protest will be way more organized and is meant for SCPD to HEAR US,” Sparkmon said in a message. “When we speak to them they ignore us, so we’ll have megaphones and every hour will be something different …. We will be speaking to them or rather AT THEM. The goal Friday is to be more and more peaceful and organized with an actual MESSAGE delivered.”
Wilson added that “people need to understand the oppression will no longer be accepted. There is room for change… and with the pandemic, there’s time for change. Now we just need to be change.”