BROOKLYN — As protests continued in Louisville, Kentucky following the news Wednesday that none of the officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor would face charges in her death, protesters packed the area surrounding Barclays Center in Brooklyn before marching through the city.
New York’s passionate protests were largely peaceful as they snaked through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, even shutting down the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges at one point.
The NYPD said no arrests were made in the overnight demonstrations and there were very few reports of vandalism.
A grand jury indicted one fired Kentucky police officer on criminal charges in the Breonna Taylor case — but not for her death. Brett Hankison was charged for allegedly shooting into a home next to Taylor’s that had people in it.
“Breonna Taylor was a hero,” one speaker shouted of the late EMT, who was killed by police gunfire in her own home during a no-knock raid in the early morning hours of March 13.
Taylor’s boyfriend has said that he thought the plainclothes officers were intruders — he fired a warning shot. The officers returned fire, shooting Taylor several times. She died in the hallway of her apartment.
A crowd of what appeared to be thousands packed the area in Brooklyn. Some held signs.
“We who believe in freedom cannot rest,” one said. “NURSES FOR BLACK LIVES,” read another.
That crowd was later mobile, crossing the Manhattan Bridge and then later over the Williamsburg Bridge back into Brooklyn around midnight, before splintering off into smaller groups.
Another protest was seen in Manhattan moving along Park Avenue. That Manhattan faction began near 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Hankison was charged Wednesday with three counts of wanton endangerment, a class D felony, for firing into the apartments of Taylor’s neighbors.
The felony is punishable of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Hankison’s bail is set at $15,000 cash bond.
Officials determined in their investigation that the use of force from the other two officers was justified.
“They should be charged with murder,” said protest co-organizer Ade. “The system is not listening to us. So if we are not being heard, we are going to have to continue to amplify our voices until we are heard.”
The crowd was incredibly diverse. Meredith Maple, a white woman from Brooklyn, said it was important to be part of the protest.
“They can’t ignore us anymore,” she said. “They have to listen to the Black Lives Matter movement. They have to listen to the people’s demands. Defunding the police, reallocating that money into the community, valuing Black lives over an institution like the NYPD. And I hope the size of this crowd can convince people that these demands are real and this movement is not going to stop.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams spoke to PIX11 via Zoom, while marching with the crowd.
“America is at a point where it has to ask itself, ‘What else do you need to see?'” Williams said. “I’m not OK today. So many people are not OK today. It hurts and it’s painful.”
Protests are expected to continue through the night in New York and in many other U.S. cities. In Louisville, officials have imposed a curfew that began at 9 p.m.
At least 5 protests and rallies are planned for Thursday.
Demonstrations marked similarities to those seen earlier this year, when New Yorkers stood in solidarity with counterparts across the country advocating for police reform.
Those protests began following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Floyd died on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s death has sparked protests around the world.
The officer in that case, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved were fired and were later charged with aiding and abetting.