A #BlackLivesMatter group is currently holding a 24-hour sit-in at Grand Central Station, reading off the names of African-American and Hispanic police brutality victims. The action began Monday at 5 p.m. and will conclude Tuesday at the same time.
“Danny Rodriguez. 29 years old. There was a domestic call at his South Phoenix home,” one protestor lead the group in saying.
“Police Officer Richard Chrisman and his partner shot and killed Danny Rodriguez’s dog, and put that pistol to Rodriguez’s head.”
Watch part of the protest here:
Shortly after reading Danny’s name, police began closing in on the demonstration. “Police are trying to intimidate us,” another woman with the group said. “If you feel uncomfortable, think of how uncomfortable people are in the stories we are reading.”
Another protestor said that the officials informed her the signs were obstructing traffic and needed to be removed. Interestingly enough, the group said they were told to stage a “die-in” instead.
“Try to wrap your minds around that,” a woman remarked. “Because I’m having very hard time [doing so].”
“It looks like our brothers and sisters in uniform are tightening their surrounding of the names of these victims, of these heroes, of these children, of these Fathers and Mothers,” added Reverend Billy Talen, well-known for his activist work. “And what they are doing goes right to the heart of the uprising starting with Michael Brown.”
Watch Billy Talen speak and police officers attempt to take the signs away here:
Minutes after Talen spoke, officers arrested him and began confiscating the signs. The protestors were able to salvage most of them.
Undeterred, the protestors decided to continue the event by walking around Grand Central single file, resuming the reading of names.
Along with police officers, bigoted passersby also disrupted the event. One protestor claimed a group of seemingly drunken White males asked him the day before why he was helping “these N*ggers.” And at one point on Tuesday, a construction walker also yelled something to the effect of, “How many of them sold drugs?” as he walked to catch his train (which can be heard in the first video).
As of press time, the protestors have returned to their original area in the terminal and are continuing their sit-in.
UPDATED 01/06/15 4:13 p.m., EST: Protestors remain, and are still honoring those killed in confrontations with police:
UPDATED 01/06/15 5:15 p.m., EST: The occupation ends with a die-in and one last walk around the terminal, seen in the video below: