Community organizers again marched silently in Harlem on Sunday evening to seek justice for victims of police violence, even as elected officials asked them to put the protest movement on hold.
At least 150 members and supporters of activist group Justice League NYC marched along West 110th Street, many holding candles in memory of both victims of police abuse and the two NYPD officers murdered in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“I’m asking all those to hold off on any form of protest until these officers are laid to rest in a peaceful manner,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said from in front of an impromptu memorial for the officers early Sunday. “It’s time for New Yorkers to come together.”
Those protesters still came together for the candle-lit march, eventually settling in for an hour-long service at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church to denounce attacks on the movement.
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On Saturday, hours after officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were declared dead from their gunshot wounds fired by , Pat Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association placed blame on both Mayor Bill de Blasio and protesters who Lynch argued were anti-cop.
“There is blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York police officers did every day,” Lynch told reporters.
“Our movement has never been about revenge or vendettas,” said Linda Sarsour, a member of the group at the Harlem service. “It’s been about love.”
Sarsour said that while all lives matter, “it's black lives that we have to justify matters.”
Fellow Justice League leader Tamika Mallory denounced any link between the group’s ongoing protests and the deaths of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu at the hands of alleged gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley.
“We do come here tonight hurting about two officers being gunned down in the streets,” she said. “People who want police accountability — we do not accept anything that happened yesterday as being right.”