NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The youth community organizing groups Black Youth Project and Million Hoodies staged a protest outside the security gates of the Police Benevolent Association,’s headquarters at 125 Broad St. in Lower Manhattan.at around 9:35 this morning.
The group of protesters called for the union to be defunded in the wake of recent police-involved shootings, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“The police are trying to manipulate the conversation. They are trying to manipulate all of us into believing that they are at risk. They are not at risk,” Rahel Mekdim Teka, the BYP100 NYC organizing chair said. “Police officers are the threat. Police do not keep us safe. Police do not protect us. They are the danger that keeps Black people unsafe. We met divest from institutions that do not value us and instead invest in Black communities.”
In response to the protest, PBA president Patrick J. Lynch issued the following statement:
“Today’s protest was a display of misdirected and misinformed anger that should have been pointed at City Hall, not the police officers who were on hand to protect the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. We always have protected that right, and we always will, provided it is done peacefully and legally. Chaining yourself inside private property and refusing to disperse when ordered is not legal. The climate police officers face is growing more dangerous by the day. Police officers are being shot at; that’s not ‘dialog,’ it’s violence. We need our elected leaders to step up and say unequivocally that violent and illegal behavior will not be tolerated, and to support police officers, period.”
According to their website, BYP100 “is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice & freedom for all Black people.”
Protesters chained themselves in front of turnstiles and elevators and chanted, “I love my people! You don’t love my people, what’s wrong with you?” and “”Mama mama can’t you see — what the police have done to me.”
They also were on the street outside. Cardboard tubes were used to prevent people from entering the building.
Photos and video posted on social media accounts seem to show a number of protesters being arrested. BYP 100 claims that 10 of their members were taken into custody.
At least 50 members of the American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union were standing by in solidarity with the protesters, according to a tweet from the NYCLU’s deputy advocacy director.
Lynch later called the protest “unfortunate.”