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Fireworks in New York City

Source: Gary Hershorn / Getty

Late-night fireworks have been faithfully detonated nightly for weeks across the five boroughs of New York City, and now some people are raising their eyebrows about what exactly is happening.

At first, people seemed to associate the fireworks with the ongoing protests against police violence and racism, but that initial reaction on social media has since morphed into those centered on conspiracy theories that have vast implications for Black and brown people in The Big Apple.

These fireworks are not quick displays, either. Some are lasting for hours into the early morning.

While those conspiracy theories are unproven, the suspicion that the fireworks are being ramped up has been confirmed. NBC New York reported that there have been “more than 1,700 fireworks-related complaints to the city’s noise complaint hotline through the first half of June” compared to “only 21 registered during this time in 2019.”

So why the change? That answer is unclear. But city officials have begun an investigation including trying to figure out where the supply is coming from and how it’s getting into a city that outlaws possessing them.

At least one person on social media described the situation in part as being “suspicious” and penned an elaborate post that she said was an attempt “to destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement.” She said the media was reporting that Black and brown youth were solely responsible for the illegal fireworks.

However, the post also points out that the quality of the fireworks being shot off are on a part with those used for professional purposes, not recreational.

That means, the post says without proof, that the government could be supplying the fireworks.

What would any of that accomplish, you ask? Well, for starters, it could provide the police with a reason to go into these neighborhoods in an attempt to justify racially profiling and criminalizing people who fit whatever description of suspect police say they’re looking for. The city has encouraged residents to call both the nonemergency 311 number as well as 911 to report use of these fireworks.

Yet another theory suspects that law enforcement could be providing the fireworks only to ignore any complaints as an act of defiance amid calls to defund the NYPD to purportedly prove their worth to the residents they’re charged with protecting and serving.

There are multiple videos on social media showing police being present as fireworks are shot off but not doing anything to stop or deter it from happening.

Another theory is that the fireworks are being used in Black and brown neighborhoods to leave residents disoriented and sleep-deprived and “to stoke tensions between Black and brown peoples.”

Whatever the case is, one thing is for sure: The fireworks continue to happen ahead of the annual Fourth of July fireworks with no end in sight.

Even with an online petition demanding an end to the illegal fireworks.

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