Sunset Park police watchdog group El Grito de Sunset Park is organizing a public protest in response to two highly publicized incidents of police brutality: the kicking of festival street vendor Jonathan Daza by police officer Vincent Ciardiello, and the recent case of a pregnant being shoved in the course of a nearby arrest. Both incidents were filmed by private citizens.
The protest will take place this Saturday, September 27, from noon to 2 p.m., and protestors plan to march north on Fifth Avenue, from 46th Street to the 72nd Precinct, at 29th Street. According to El Grito de Sunset Park’s Facebook page, the event is being organized in partnership with the New York City Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, and is sponsored by Sunset Park Restoration, Young Progressive Democrats, New Yorkers Against Bratton, and Uprose, among other groups.
El Grito de Sunset Park has been one of the most vocal and active community bodies in Brooklyn to speak out against police brutality. The impact of this effort is magnified by a focus on publicizing civilian video recordings, which paint a starker picture of police behavior than even the most vociferous decriers could.
The officer who kicked Daza (while he was on the ground, being handcuffed by other officers) has been suspended for the time being, despite the relatively clear series of events shown in the video. Many in recent weeks have criticized such relatively light punishments for officers employing unnecessary force—especially those who are filmed doing so. Saturday’s protest is likely to draw more attention to the local incidents that have already made headlines, and will hopefully further the conversation between the community and its assigned protectors.
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