Protesters in Lower Manhattan occupy lobby of PBA's office building

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
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Diana Rocco reporting live

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- The organization Black Youth Project 100 protested at a New York police union office building Wednesday.

Around 9 a.m., about 50 protesters gathered, chanting, outside of and in the lobby of 125 Broad St. in Lower Manhattan.

They said they were there to make demands on the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which has an office in the building.

Emani Brown, of the Black Youth Project 100, said that the PBA "protects killer cops that kill black people."

Through the morning, they gathered in front of the building and chained themselves together in the lobby. There were 10 arrests.

"We are here to occupy space in a militant way to show that black people are ungovernable," said Jewel Cadet, of the Black Youth Project 100.

The protesters, which included members of Million Hoodies For Justice, were trying to interrupt the work day to get the attention of officials at the PBA, namely union president, Pat Lynch.

"We were able to walk directly behind him and he heard our voices," said Cadet.

Lynch said protesters' anger was misplaced.

In a statement, he said, "Today's protest was a display of misdirected and misinformed anger that should have been pointed at City Hall, not the police officers who were on hand to protect the demonstrators' First Amendment rights. We always have protected that right, and we always will, provided it is done peacefully and legally. Chaining yourself inside private property and refusing to disperse when ordered is not legal ..."

In the building lobby, 10 members of the Black Youth Project 100 chained themselves to the electronic turnstile entrances on the first floor for nearly an hour.

Their arms were chained together and wrapped in PVC pipe. They forced police to cut through the pipe and chains to free them.

Protesters were escorted in handcuffs to a waiting police van, some still chanting as they were taken out, while onlookers waited to get inside the building.

Dozens of officers guarded the plaza and lobby on Broad Street.