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Counter-Rally to Take Place Before Pro-Police March in Sunnyside Saturday

Defund NYPD (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Aug. 21, 2020 By Michael Dorgan  

A counter-rally is set to take place before a pro-police march in Sunnyside Saturday morning.

The opposing rally will meet at John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square in Woodside at 10 a.m. and walk towards 39th Street and Greenpoint Avenue.

The group expects to arrive just before a scheduled pro-police march kicks off from the spot at 11 a.m.

The pro-police rally is looking to support the officers of the NYPD 108th precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The counter-protesters said they will form a single-file line in front of the pro-police marchers but will step aside once their march starts, according to organizer Grace Frutos.

Frutos, a Sunnyside resident who says she has organized several “defund the NYPD” protests in Queens, said her group is not happy with the pro-police rally.

She said the pro-police ralliers have misunderstood the goals of the “defund” movement.

“They think that we are against police and that we want to hurt them and that’s just not the case,” Frutos said.

(Provided by Grace Frutos)

She said that certain sections of society are being mistreated by police due to a lack of training and they want this to change.

The group wants the police to get better training in de-escalation tactics, mental health programs and in social work, she said.

“We want them to recognize that their loved one is part of this oppressive, hateful and racist system,” she said. “We want them to understand that and help us change that.”

Frutos said that they also want a portion of the NYPD budget to be invested in better education for communities of color. She said that this will prevent people from committing crimes in the future because poor education and poverty are linked to higher crime levels.

The group will hold signs and posters with some of their positions written across them in order to get their message across.

“We do not intend to engage with them and the majority of our protest will be done in silence,” she said.

Frutos said that they will briefly break their silence to lay out some of their positions. She said they will then peacefully move out of the way and let the pro-police ralliers carry out their march.

She said her group will also carry posters about criminal justice reform which is fueling racial injustice throughout the community.

Frutos said that alternative systems should be put in place to deal with criminals like restorative justice and transformative justice. These systems often involve the victim and the offender meeting and reconciling with one another.

“Instead we’re putting them in boxes and we’re not helping them heal their hearts and their brains,” she said.

John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square (Google Maps)

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Bill from Woodside

Saturday’s Rally for the NYPD sponsored by the 108 Precinct Council was a shame.
In the spirit of the organizers to have a pleasant and peaceful gathering in hope of improving relationships fizzled quickly. To say that this was a peaceful event is only based on violence not occurring.
As the small group of police supporters entered Sabba Park on Queens Boulevard, they were encountered by a large group of BLM/ Antifa demonstrators. This group came to intimidate and instigate trouble. They circled individual rally supporters in an attempt to start confrontations. They also crowded around the speakers to bully them as well as disrupt the event with bullhorns, whistles, and chanting. Why the police allowed this to happen to a registered permit holding event and stand mostly on the outside of the park showed a lack of law and order.
Thanks goes out to the 108 Pct. Community Council, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan’s Office in their valent attempt and to Councilmember Bob Holden who was brave enough to speak at the rally.

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