Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered for two different marches in Queens to protest the police shooting of Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield and police conduct in the community overall. A chapter of the NAACP organized a march of hundreds of people from Jamaica Avenue and 168th Street to where the shooting took place, at Liverpool and 94th Avenue. The other march was organized by the New Black Panther Party, which started at the shooting scene and ended at Jamaica and 168th, and offered much angrier words.
The NAACP's march was peaceful, and with NAACP regional director Hilda Rogers Rodgers saying, "We would like to have our young men walk the streets in their communities and not feel targeted. This is a rally for justice and change."
The NY Times reported that the New Black Panther party, with many members "dressed in black military fatigues," "spoke of revolution and black nationalism" with a much younger group of protesters who yelled to "Off the pigs." The New Black Panther Party's chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz told them, "Today we begin a boycott of nonblack businesses, or rather white businesses, that support a white power structure, that supports the police that is killing us. We are going to take the streets, take blacks out of these stores and prevent them from buying their own destruction." Marchers, including members of both the Bloods and Crips, also entered stores not owned by blacks, like Old Navy and Conway.
A friend of Sean Bell's said he was jumped by cops on Tuesday. According to the Daily News, Terry McKenzie said the police asked him about Bell and showed him photographs of different men, "I was a close friend of Sean. I'm mourning over that, and for this to happen is crazy." But the cops say McKenzie was taken in because he was "carrying 53 vials of crack cocaine," which he denies.
Photograph of the New Black Panther Party's march in Queens last weekend by Adam Rountree/AP