11 days after the death of George Floyd, protests push forward across Long Island
More than a dozen protests were scheduled across Long Island Friday -- from Montauk to Fire Island, and Glen Cove to Valley Stream.
The rain didn't stop protesters from making an 8-mile march from Valley Stream to Merrick.
"Our message as a group is essentially being said around the country in that we want to end senseless violence and murder," says Jason Thomas, of Massapequa.
The protests have continued across Long Island each day this week in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The biggest protest so far came Thursday night in Merrick, where nearly 4,000 people came out.
"We have to make noise, we have to be in the streets, we have to do what we have to do to get attention," says William West, of Queens.
Some of those Merrick protesters ended up on the Southern State Parkway, causing it to be closed in both directions. Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says Thursday's protest was peaceful for the most part.
VIDEO: More from Valley Stream
"We draw two lines in the sand: Are you going to bring violence or are you going to bring criminal mischief to Nassau County? We will enforce the law," says Ryder. "If you go to peacefully protest I don't need to draw a line in the sand and stop a group of thousands try to get past me, that's confrontational, that's going to cause a problem."
Ryder and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran released a joint statement Friday about an incident that occurred when an ex-Nassau officer used a racial slur toward a protester. It is not clear where it occurred.
The statement reads in part, "This person has not been employed by the police department in two years. In no way does his behavior reflect the commitment that the Nassau County Police Department has to protect and serve all people."
Protesters and organizers hoped to see people from all walks of life come out Friday night.
"We definitely want to tell people that Black Lives Matter is not anti-others, Black Lives Matter is about the inclusion of black Americans," says Shaelyne Moodie, of Bay Shore. "So when we say Black Lives Matter we're not taking away from another community, we're just trying to be added, we're just trying to be added to all lives."
Within the sea of protesters were children raising their voices to fight for their future as well.
"I think that people are going to see it's not fair anymore, and it's going to stop. And if it doesn't stop then we're going to keep marching," says Lynbrook's Ava Henry.
Among Friday's other protests was one in Bellport, where demonstrators marched about two miles from the heart of the village to Station Road. At the end of the march, there was a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.