Despite heavy rain, roughly 70 people congregated on the New Haven Green Friday afternoon with banners and megaphones to protest police brutality in the Elm City and across the country.
The protest, which lasted from 6 to 7:30 p.m., was organized by New Haven activist Barbara Fair in conjunction with local activist groups such as Unidad Latina en Acción, Black Lives Matter New Haven and Showing up for Racial Justice, an organization that encourages Caucasians to participate in activism . The attendees gathered in a semicircle on the corner of Church and Chapel streets and took turns giving speeches about racial justice and police brutality.
“If I am stopped by an officer and he asks me ‘Is everything okay?’ and his hand is on his holster, that’s not okay,” said Justin Farmer, a student at Southern Connecticut State University.
Farmer told the crowd that his friends and family worried for his safety when he told them he was attending the protest. He said the way the justice system treats people differently based on their class and race divides people, adding that he believes in community policing, which allows people to have stewardship over their communities.
Sgt. Roy Davis of the NHPD, who was present at the protest, declined to comment on the subject of the protest .
“We are just happy people have the right to protest,” Davis said.
Among the attendees was Holly Tucker, Fair’s daughter and a New Haven resident, who said she was assaulted by two police officers on Sept. 10. According to Tucker, the officers followed her in her car into a gas station where they pulled her through her car window and threw her on the ground.
Fair said Mayor Toni Harp and the police department have been working with her and her daughter to investigate the assault. She told the protesters that Mayor Harp called her earlier on Friday to update her on the investigation and thanked them for holding police departments accountable to the people. In an interview with the News, she said her daughter submitted a video she took during the altercation to authorities and is awaiting further progress in the investigation.
“I am pleased they are not just ignoring the situation,” she said.
Connecticut state Representative Robyn Porter, D.-New Haven, and state Senator Gary Holder-Winfield, D.-New Haven, stopped by the protest, she said.
ULA organizer Jesus Morales-Sanchez, who also spoke at the protest, said he wants to see an America without racism, where people settle their differences using words and not weapons and where electing a female president is not an issue.
Jaster Francis ’20 said he believes students have an obligation to get involved in social activism. He spoke about Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man who was shot in Oklahoma earlier this month, and said he was excited to see people of different socio-economic and racial backgrounds gathered together in solidarity.
“We may not be oppressed by a slave master’s whip, but we are oppressed by police officers’ bullets,” Francis said.
After the protest, a group of approximately 30 people marched through the streets chanting for another hour and a half.
New Haven activist Cee Jay said the police followed and intimidated the protesters who were chanting. She added she was pleased by the turnout of Yale and Southern students.
“This image that people have of Yale students, that they don’t care, is wrong,” she said. “They’re in it to win it and so am I.”
Black Lives Matter was formed in 2013.