Merrick protester hopes isolated acts of aggression won't overshadow demonstration
Although many of Long Island's recent protests have been peaceful, one in Merrick Wednesday night led to some tensions boiling over.
A window was broken at Little Cucina Pizzeria in Merrick during the protest. Social media videos show the shop's window being smashed.
Nassau police say they are still investigating what happened, and say it's not clear if the glass was damaged on purpose or accidentally.
Police did not say if anyone was arrested, but did say there were no major incidents.
A second video, posted earlier this week by News 12's Shari Einhorn, shows two men outside the restaurant heckling protesters. The pizza shop's owner says the men in that video had nothing to do with her business.
Another video from the same protest shows an apparent confrontation between a truck driver and some demonstrators near Sunrise Highway. Investigators say there was no physical altercation, and no police report was filed.
One Merrick resident who took part in Wednesday's protest says the event was mostly peaceful, but fears that being overshadowed by isolated acts of aggression.
"Any violence is too much violence, there should never be destruction at a protest," says Terri Cohen-Lieberman. "But I'd like there to be more about how peaceful and successful this gathering was."
Another tense moment came when some residents tried to confront protesters Tuesday on Merrick Road. Volunteer firefighter Marc Soto, who took part in one of the demonstrations, says that will only create deeper divisions.
"We need to open up the conversation and have that dialogue so we can get to know each other better, not be fearful of each other," says Soto.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says demonstrations have been overwhelmingly peaceful, despite a few flare-ups.
"We want everybody to peacefully protest and we will get through this," Ryder says. "The message gets lost in the violence. The message gets lost in the criminal mischief. We haven't had that."