UPDATED: Brooklyn GOP & Conservative Parties Statement on Southern Brooklyn Unrest

A NYPD supporter flexing his arm towards BLM protesters. Over 100 pro-NYPD protesters were present at the rally on Sunday (Photo by Tsubasa Berg)
A NYPD supporter flexing his arm to BLM protesters. Over 100 pro-NYPD protesters showed up at the rally on Sunday (Photo by Tsubasa Berg)

Editor’s Note: The Brooklyn Republican and Conservatives Parties last night issued the following statement concerning the unrest and violence this past weekend between those rallying to support the city’s police department and counter Black Lives Matter rallies. KCP refrained from posting this earlier today to give Democratic State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and City Councilmember Justin Brannan, both of whom represent Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, an opportunity to respond. Below the GOP/Conservative statement is their response.







This past weekend’s rallies and protests in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge (and in other parts of our city) saw both the best and the worst of our shared civic life.  Given some of the heated rhetoric and some mistruths being dispersed by others, including certain of our local elected officials, we thought it very important to share the facts surrounding events this past weekend without political spin and without partisan rancor.

Recent events – citywide, statewide, and nationally – have pushed discussions about police procedures and accountability to the forefront of news. Debate is always healthy and, without question, there is a universal desire for improvement in all community relations.

Sadly, voices supporting police – and in opposition to what some consider attacks on common-sense public safety policies – are wrongfully being labeled hateful and regressive by those who simply do not agree.

The fact is that those who organized and/or marched in support of first responders were of very diverse religious backgrounds, political backgrounds, races, genders, ages, including clergy, accountants, lawyers, fireman, teachers, community volunteers, coaches, grandmothers and grandfathers, small business owners, car service drivers, medical professionals and more.  In fact, one of the two rallies was principally organized by middle eastern business owners who wanted to show their support to the NYPD and who sought broader support.  Yet, elected officials, their staff and others throw blanket and untrue disparaging statements around as if their words do not matter.  Simply stated, it matters and this is wrong, especially against your own constituents solely because you disagree on certain issues.

Regarding Saturday’s rally, we denounce – plainly and strongly – any hateful language that came from the few (who had no connection to the event organizers) who had responded to the counter-protesters.  It was unacceptable and we categorically denounce anything like that. 

Conversely, we call on our local elected officials, and selected members of their staff, to unconditionally make an unqualified apology for and denouncement of those labeling thousands of their constituents, as racist.  They should know and act better than that, as it could not be further from the truth.  Additionally, they need to unequivocally and immediately denounce the counter-protesters not only for their of the words – but the much worse vile actions that were taken by them against those participating in the support of the NYPD, which included such action by those who: (1) threw buckets of body fluids (including vomit) onto those marching in support of police – an especially vile act considering the current public health crisis; (2) physically assaulted those marching in support of police, including women with children; (3) threw eggs, rocks, bricks and shot paintballs at otherwise peaceful marchers, and (4) made crude & blanket disparagements of South Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Much of the coverage of these events did not include many of the above occurrences, which is unfortunate.  Again, we call for civility and a recognition for diversity of views.  The largely one-sided viewpoint and instigation needs to stop for the sake of all our communities – now.  For example, no one in these communities organized simultaneous counter-protests against, e.g., those burning the flag, calling for the destruction of America and our law enforcement community – as hateful as that actually is.

All families, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors across all communities deserve much better than they are getting.  We do not and should not pick our friends solely by their political viewpoints, and for our electeds and their staff to call it divisive to show one’s support of our law enforcement, their city and country is entirely unacceptable. Rather, the rallies were a call for support for one of the most diverse police forces in the country, who by and large do an outstanding job in the face of a variety of challenges, and whose abolition or further curtailment will no doubt lead to much higher crime rates – as we are already seeing.  Crimes and crime rates directly affect people of all backgrounds, they are not just statistics.

We want to see all communities have safe streets, safe parks and playgrounds, more school choice, better quality of life, lower taxes, fares, tolls, a more affordable city, more friendly business environment for small and bigger businesses alike, better and more equal support of all teachers and educators (whether they are in a public, private or religious school system) and much more. 

Call it as you like, but we the people largely live, work and play peacefully and quietly together.  Let’s improve on that and share ideas – not demonize, agree to disagree – not disparage, allow assembly and freedom of thought – not trying to quiet those around with whom you may disagree.  We can agree to disagree on issues, absolutely, but to disparage so many who give endlessly and tirelessly for their communities and all people of all backgrounds is wholly unacceptable.

Gounardes responded: “This statement about the absolutely unacceptable actions that took place over the weekend — actions that this group of people stoked — should have come before the weekend’s events continued to escalate. And even now they continue to fail to condemn or acknowledge any of the actual violence from Saturday’s rally. I already and without needing to be urged have spoken up against violence and incitement of any kind.”

Brannan responded: “You shouldn’t need 48 hours to call out senseless violence and vitriol in your own backyard. Our neighborhood had an entire month of peaceful protests, marches, and rallies that didn’t result in a single act of violence or property destruction, until this weekend. The Conservative Party’s complete refusal to address or even acknowledge this led to unacceptable chaos on Sunday. Protestors from outside the area flooded the neighborhood on Sunday because they saw zero repercussions for the bad actors on Saturday. If the Conservative Party had shown some leadership, and crossed the aisle to join us in immediately denouncing the violence, perhaps we would not have had trash cans set on fire and burning American flags 24 hours later. To be clear: this is not the fault of the majority of people who attended Saturday’s otherwise peaceful march in support of the police but on the organizers, elected officials, and party leadership who refused to take responsibility for the ugliness perpetrated by a select few. Those who say if you support the Black Lives Matter movement then you are anti-police are simply demagogues looking to divide us up by the color of our skin. Fighting for dignity and respect for all people does not make you anti-police. I’d like to think that’s where most of us stand. Everyone agrees that it’s time to make sure our protests are always respectful and peaceful. That’s why I immediately condemn violence without hesitation or equivocation. If only the Conservative Party had done the same.”