More than 100 demonstrators laid flowers at the doorstep of the 94th Precinct Thursday evening, each flower meant to represent someone who had been affected by police brutality.
“It’s love and caring and compassion and empathy for humanity that’s actually going to push society forward,” said the protest’s principal organizer who wished to be referred to as Human X. (A Greenpoint resident, he would like to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal and to emphasize that his involvement wasn’t a form of self-promotion.)
“It was much more a protest of love than showing our outrage,” echoed Jessica Straw, a protestor and longtime resident of the Greenpoint who is a friend of Human X.
Officers at the precinct weren’t expecting the protestors’ surprise bouquet. As demonstrators placed flowers near the entrance, the police created a perimeter with metal barriers to keep the demonstration at more than an arm’s length.
“The flowers, which presented a potential tripping/slipping hazard, were cleared after the protest in order to prevent injury to both members of the public and members of the Department,” Kathleen Fahey, the precinct’s Commanding Officer, said in a statement.
Thursday evening’s grassroots protest stemmed from a confrontation Human X, a Black man, had with the police a little less than two weeks ago.
He alleged that police stopped him while he was livestreaming near McGolrick Park. Officers said that someone had called claiming that he was talking to himself and kicking at passersby. They asked Human X if he was on “medication” and continued to cross-examine him, even after it was clear that he wasn’t posing a threat, he alleged.
“They put me in a very uncomfortable position where I was afraid,” he said.
An artist, Human X decided to make a statement to the precinct after he unsuccessfully lobbied the officers to investigate the confrontation. After the initial debacle, he brought an officer standing in front of the precinct’s office a flower that represented his “humanity,” the officer’s “humanity” and “the people that have been harmed by police brutality.”
Group will march single-file to 94th precinct in Greenpoint, silently place flowers on the steps in honor of those lost to #police #violence, and return to the park. "Everyone gets home safe," speakers emphasized. pic.twitter.com/bHVnrwWG4i
— NYC Protest Updates 2020 (@protest_nyc) July 10, 2020
Less than two weeks later, Human X eventually mobilized protestors at the nightly McCarren Park vigil to join him in gifting the 94th precinct hundreds of flowers.
His dabbling in floral arrangements won’t stop with Thursday evening’s demonstration. He plans to go back to precinct with friends who weren’t able to attend the most recent march. And he’s in talk with people who’d like to do a similar protest in Bushwick.
“As humans, we have to share love amongst each other and to not allow the hate and anger to consume us,” he said.