there agitating. And they asked me to come back there, take a look and encourage those people to join the protest. So I went back there. And it was very clear that those folks were not interested in coming around to the front that they wanted to call the police out—you know, justifiably so. There were some folks back there doing graffiti, some folks who were banging on the glass of the precinct, they were understandably very angry. And then when the protests ended they stayed back there. Because we encouraged people to leave after that, if they want to march back or get a ride. And so some folks left and some folks didn’t, and we were in the parking lot across the street from the Third Precinct, waiting at the Target store over there, we were waiting for our ride. And then the next thing we see tons of police show up in riot gear. We see these flashes of light, like, these flash-bangs. And apparently they’re pepper-spraying people and people are running and screaming. And then at that point, we decided to leave because it was getting dark out there, and we didn’t know what to expect. And our protest was over, so we left. So that was all that happened the first night.
JAMES GABRIEL, 35 BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
I heard that people were going to be assembling at Barclays Center. So I hopped on my bike, threw on my mask, went to Barclays. The energy of the people there was electric and inspiring. This was a spontaneous generation of activity. You saw people taking the bullhorn, saying they had never been to a demonstration before—and these were Black and brown youth who were saying, “Enough is enough.” Seeing someone who’s 21 years old, taking the power back… At that first demonstration at Barclays, I think that the police had made Barclays, basically, their sort-of HQ. There’s a precinct nearby as well. And so there were already metal gates erected and people were up in the policemen’s faces.
I take photographs, so in part I had the documentarian spirit of wanting to photograph, bear witness, in addition to participating in this. The first confrontation with the police at Barclays where there was pepper spray— none of that, to me, was shocking. Some of the protesters were at the metal barricades and were rocking them while chanting, and policemen close by,