Community leaders: Police need to stop using excessive force at Black Lives Matter protests
Social justice preacher Rev. Kevin McCall joined civil rights leaders and protesters outside Barclays Center Sunday to call on NYPD officers to stop using excessive force at Black Lives Matter protests.
Rev. Kevin McCall and several others addressed what they call excessive force by NYPD officers against protestors at large Black Lives Matter protests held this past week.
They specifically highlighted the NYPD Strategic Response Group (SRG), who have arrested several protestors each night.
"Do the right thing, as you say Police Commissioner Shea, and have the community affairs, have regular officers out there, but leave SRG in their office," McCall said.
Throughout the week, thousands took to the streets to march in memory of Daunte Wright and 13-year-old Adam Toledo, both killed by police officers.
"There are officers at protests pushing people, so the police violence has gotten worse," McCall said.
McCall believes mutual respect between officers and protestors must improve. He also feels that a large police presence leading up to the Derek Chauvin verdict is necessary as he expects people to be out whichever way the verdict goes. He still urges demonstrators not to resort to violence.
"You need the police department in this city, but we need a respectable police department," McCall said.
One NYPD officer whom several speakers mentioned was Captain Julio Delgado, who's been working on the front lines during the protests citywide.
"You want peace in the streets? Get rid of Delgado!" McCall said.
"Every time Delgado comes out, arrests rates go up, up, and up," said activist Nino Blue.
"You ain't representing any of our movements when you come in our community and use violence as a tactic to be able to get your message. Violence is never the answer," McCall said.
Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial begin Monday and that will be the last chance for both sides to speak to the jury.
McCall told News 12 that he anticipates thousands to be out in the streets leading up to the verdict.
Meantime, a spokesperson for the NYPD said in part that there have been adjustments to responding to protests and added, "This has included more training for police officers in protecting and facilitating demonstrations and marches... The NYPD strives to use no force, or the minimal amount of force required to make arrests." The spokesperson emphasized that peaceful protesters ensure a peaceful protest.