Protestors Rally Outside Brentwood State Park in Response to the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Verdict

By: Kelly Alvarado
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This Sunday about 50 protestors rallied at the Brentwood State Park, demanding justice for Breonna Taylor and other constituents affected by police brutality. 

Taylor was a 26-year-old Black medical worker in Louisville, KY. that was killed in her apartment by police officers during the execution of a no-knock warrant back in March. Former detective, Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of as indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment, engaging in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person, for his actions that night, but none of the three officers who caused Taylor’s death were charged, thus prompting the protest in Brentwood and others nationwide. 

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone here really thought it was that surprising,” said Gabby Negron, one of the  co-organizers. “For me, it just made me even more angered at the system and just said that, this is the way things are, this is the way things have been and things will continue to be this way unless we have a radical change.”

The crowd met at the entrance of the state park as police officials read formalities to ensure safety is met by all participants before the protest ensued. Protestors then moved to the sidewalk area in front of the park to chant towards the cars driving by. Many of those partaking held up signs demanding justice for Taylor and for an end to police brutality. 

Protestors Rally Outside Brentwood State Park in Response to the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Verdict
?: Kelly Avarado

“I’ve been organizing here on Long Island for years now and it would take so much to get like five people to show up to a protest and now people are showing up all the time,” said Alejandro Contreras, co-organizer from the Party for Socialism and Liberation organization. “We still need to do a lot more but this is a start and it’s just building that consciousness within people and building that empathy that’s been lost for a while.”

Negron, Contreras, and many other organizations, along with Breonna Taylor’s case, came out to support community organizer Devon Toney, who had charges brought against him after a 911 call was made for gathering at Ross Memorial Park in Brentwood back in August. 

“I want to fight injustice,” said Toney. “I want to let Breonna’s name live on but I want them all to know, I’m somebody that lives it, I’m the living example of what police brutality is in America.”

As an orphan who has dealt with homelessness himself, Toney spends his time helping other homeless individuals through his program, All included N’ Treated (AINT). In terms of his arrest, he alleges that he has footage of police terrorizing and beating him and other constituents that gathered in the park and tried to feed the homeless. 

“I have over 60 videos of police brutality out here in the streets, and that’s just locally with me,” said Toney. “But as far as the Breonna Taylor’s case on a national scale, she’s never gonna get the justice that she deserved and she’s not here to explain the way I’m explaining verbally now.”

According to the Suffolk County Third Precinct, the officers were responding to a 911 caller who reported a large group of people gathered in the area and they were trying to disperse the crowd “of approximately 30 people, many of whom were in the street blocking traffic.”

“Two police officers were injured when they were assaulted while attempting to disperse the crowd,” said the precinct” The officers were transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where they were treated and released. Third Squad detectives charged Devon Toney, 44, who is undomiciled, with Assault second degree, Riot in the first degree, Harassment in the second degree, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.”

Protestors Rally Outside Brentwood State Park in Response to the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Verdict
?: @psllongisland

Many people of color, as well as others, that showed up this past Sunday believe that Taylor’s verdict was not the end of the fight against injustices here in the United States. Kurt Kronemberg, a Black resident in Bayshore and activist for over 30 years, was one of those people. 

“We’re sick and tired of this, said Kronemberg. “I think they finally messed with the wrong generation. I’m out here as much as I can, and I’m gonna do it as long as it takes, whatever it takes.”

Kelly Alvarado

Kelly Alvarado

Kelly Alvarado is a senior at Stony Brook University who is double majoring in journalism and women studies. She is currently interning for the Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society where she is creating virtual tours. Additionally, she started a position at The Statesman, SBU's newspaper, where she is a video intern. Kelly has interests in an array of topics like environmentalism, human rights, and immigration. She is passionate about creating visual storytelling and informative articles that will bring about change.

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