Thousands of spectators and attendees celebrated at the West Indian Day Parade and J’ouvert Festival on Labor Day, September 3, in Brooklyn.
The annual event, that celebrates Caribbean culture and the emancipation of slaves, took place in the streets of Crown Heights earlier than prior years.
Many attended, taking in the sights and exciting atmosphere of individuals dressed in colorful and bright costumes with headpieces and impressive floats that traveled the parade route.
Heavy police presence at West Indian Day Parade
Due to shootings and violence that have occurred at past celebrations, the J’Ouvert festival got an early start, kicking off at 6 a.m. with the parade starting at 11 a.m.
Thirteen police checkpoints and 4,000 police officers were put in place for added safety measures and to stop individuals from bringing alcohol and weapons to the festivities.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray were seen walking and waiving at attendees as the West Indian Day Parade made its way through the streets of Eastern Parkway, Schenectady Avenue and Grand Army Plaza before coming to a finish at Flatbush Avenue.
While some thought the security for the West Indian Day Parade was a bit too much, many appreciated the police presence.
“I think it’s a little over the top,” an attendee told ABC 7 NY. “Anytime black people are congregated together, there always seems to be an excessive amount of force.”
“It’s so big and everybody’s enjoying it,” a spectator shared. “And you don’t want someone to get the wrong idea and try to ruin it, so we have the protection we need.”
On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio ensured the public that there would be tight security at the event.
“J’Ouvert is one of the most vibrant cultural celebrations in our city, and we’re working with the community to make the festivities are enjoyable for all. No one should have to choose between ensuring their safety and celebrating their heritage.”
Man shot at J’Ouvert celebration
Although police presence was heavy, an unidentified male was shot in the back around 7:35 a.m., according to the New York Post. The incident took place between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Brooklyn. The gunmen reportedly took off on foot, fleeing from the scene.
The male victim was rushed to Kings County Hospital and is listed in stable condition.