On June 13, New York City came alive with a Black Excellence Walk that saw over a thousand people walk from the Grand Army Plaza to the police headquarters in Manhattan demanding police reforms and honoring the lives and achievements of African-Americans.
The protest is significant in wake of growing complaints of unprovoked brutality against protesters by the NYPD in the early days of protests. There were instances of police personnel beating people with batons and on May 30, shocking videos emerged of a police vehicle being driven into a crowd of protesters!
Over a dozen protests were held all across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx on Saturday. Some began as early as 6 A.M when people gathered at Jackson Square Park for a march. Nearly 500 protesters also gathered at Columbus circle, but the statue there was placed behind barricades and placed under police guard to prevent people from tearing it down like they did in St. Paul, Boston and Richmond.
But both, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, are against the removal of the statue. However, Cuomo did manage to redeem himself, somewhat, when he signed an executive order making it a must for police departments to meet with members of the public and adopt reform plans by April 1 next year, which is the day when the budget including provisions for funding of police departments is to be passed.
*Feature image courtesy @sarahzelinski on Twitter