Thousands come out for Merrick George Floyd protest; demonstrators see pushback in Massapequa Park
Protests across Long Island in the wake of the death of George Floyd have not slowed down at all, even now 10 days after his death.
Among the locations for Thursday demonstrations were Massapequa Park, where hundreds gathered on Park Boulevard.
"All lives can't matter until black lives matter," says Point Lookout's Kerry Bush. "We don't need anymore divisiveness in this county."
The group remained peaceful but energized, with the Nassau Police Department's mounted unit nearby.
"Right now it's been calm, and we've got to keep it that way," said Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "We don't want to get into a confrontation with them, but if they break the law, if they start violence, if they start criminal mischief, we will make arrests."
VIDEO: More from Massapequa Park
One protester who didn't want to give his name said he appreciates law enforcement, but wants a dialogue between the community and police.
"I'm sick of seeing people saying we're disrespecting police, when I'm out here showing that I respect both sides," he said.
The group quickly fell silent for eight minutes and 46 seconds in solidarity for Floyd's death. They then made their way across Sunrise Highway.
But while hundreds of protesters are getting their message out, some community residents located across the street have had enough and want their quiet town back.
"I think enough is enough already. We get it," said Frankie Musto. "Everybody knows what happened. The police officers are going to jail for a very long time and that's it. This is ridiculous."
The streets of Merrick were taken over once again Thursday night, with police estimating almost 4,000 people marching and chanting. Police stepped up patrols following some minor issues in the area in previous days.
The protest organizer told News 12 what the plan was for Thursday, but things took a route of its own.
The group marched to the intersection of Sunrise Highway and Merrick Avenue and took a knee in honor of Floyd. Some neighbors came outside and showed their support.
In terms of some protests nationwide leading to violence, those in attendance had messages against that.
"The movement is complex, it's peaceful and it's chaotic," says Nicole Fodera. "We have to recognize that there are people out there that are purposefully causing violence to create and divide this country."
"Calm yourself down a little, really think, use logic and morals and then really come out for the reason to change for the better," says Brandon Garrin. "If we come out here and riot and loot they're going to downplay the movement and it's not going to be as successful as it could be."
Nearly three hours into the demonstration and there were still hundreds coming down a 1.5-mile portion of the Sunrise Highway that was closed off.
Nassau police say they also closed down the Southern State Parkway near Exit 25 as protesters marched.
Another peaceful demonstration was held in Floral Park Thursday.