About 150 bikers gathered yesterday evening at Barclays Center for a “Justice for Daunte Wright” protest organized by Riders for Black Lives. Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, was fatally shot Sunday by Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Department. Wright was killed about 10 miles from where George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
“We’re here because, once again, the cops don’t know when they’re not supposed to shoot,” said one of the organizers as she welcomed the crowd.
After listening to speakers, the protesters headed north on Flatbush, biked over the Brooklyn Bridge roadway, stopped at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, and then rode up the West Side Highway and over to Times Square where they dispersed. Halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge, the riders stopped and held a moment of silence for Wright. Then a woman sang to the crowd, who repeated back, “Ain’t no justice in this town. Mama, mama, can’t you see? What this system does to me.”
Throughout the course of the ride, the protesters chanted Wright’s name along with other familiar Black Lives Matter chants like, “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!” At the front and the back of the group of bikers, organizers wearing reflective gear marshalled the participants. Twelve NYPD vehicles including two arrest vans followed the group while an NYPD helicopter hovered above. No arrests were made.
Mayoral candidates Eric Adams and Andrew Yang made appearances at the protest. Adams exited the ride before it crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge. Later at Battery Park, protesters called for Yang to leave.
“Do not use our protest for your publicity,” a woman said through a megaphone. “We do not want you here. You’re pro-cop. Get out of here. Shame on you, Andrew Yang. Shame.”
As in Minneapolis, there have been daily protests in New York City for Daunte Wright since Monday. There is a vigil today at 5 p.m. at Washington Square Park.
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