A wild scene unfolded in New York City on Saturday after activists commandeered a vacant retail property. When NYPD officers evicted the squatters from the retail space that didn't belong to them, activists became furious and went on tirades against the police officers and even became violent.
Activists posted a bulletin on July 20 that read: "Community members took back the vacant commercial space at 1083 Broadway. Vacancy is community neglect, we demand that this resource be under collective control, to serve the community here forward."
The left-wing activists dubbed the occupied space as "The Gym," and said the vacant store provided "an open place of rest, discussion, bbqs, dancing, and connecting people to social services."
The activists demand that the landlords, Dodworth Development Corp, "turn over usage of the space to those . . . who have cared for their property and each other for the past year," according to Bushwick Daily. The activists declared that "landlords are integral to the systemic exploitation and neglect of the Brooklyn/Myrtle's corridors since the 1970s."
When workers reportedly attempted to access the commercial space, which has allegedly been vacant since August 2020, the activists began occupying the building to stop them from gaining access. Police were then called to remove the squatters from the commercial space and use bolt cutters to remove the locks the activists had put on the doors, which were also barricaded from the inside. Police reportedly needed to use a chainsaw to get inside the commandeered space.
Independent reporter Elad Eliahu, who covers events in New York City, attempted to document the situation. Activists employed Antifa-like tactics to prevent him from recording video, including using an umbrella to block his camera.
Eliahu posted videos from the scene in Brooklyn, including one activist being thrown to the ground by police after attempting to enter the vacant retail space.
(Content Warning: Graphic video):
An unlawful assembly was reportedly declared by authorities after a large protest emerged around the building. The situation turned violent when the crowd refused to disperse, and arrests were made. NYPD officers tackled one suspect after he attempted to flee the scene.
The angry demonstrators were caught on video screaming derogatory chants toward the officers. A woman specifically targeted a black police officer and shrieked, "You're named after a slave catcher! You have a slave catcher's last name, and you're slave catcher!" Another woman claimed the NYPD officers are "working for the KKK."
The idea that police officers evolve from "slave catchers" has been pushed by Black Lives Matter leaders in the past.
However, the first police department in the United States was founded in New York City in 1844, according to Britannica. "Other cities soon followed suit: New Orleans and Cincinnati (Ohio) in 1852; Boston and Philadelphia in 1854; Chicago and Milwaukee (Wis.) in 1855; and Baltimore (Md.) and Newark (N.J.) in 1857."
In 1799, New York state enacted the "Gradual Emancipation act that freed slave children born after July 4, 1799, but indentured them until they were young adults," according to the New-York Historical Society. "In 1817 a new law passed that would free slaves born before 1799 but not until 1827." President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862.