Pro-police demonstrators clash with Black Lives Matter protesters in Bayside

Photos by Dean Moses

A pro-police rally beginning at Crocheron Park in Bayside got off to a tense start Sunday afternoon before the “Back the Blue” protesters marched through Queens.

The group rallied to support the NYPD amidst the ongoing protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis PD custody in late May. The pro-police group clashed with members of the Black Lives Matter movement as the rally began to take shape at Crocheron Park.

With a fence separating the two groups, demonstrators from both parties traded verbal jabs in support of their conflicting ideologies.

It wasn’t long after that the two groups clashed elsewhere, with no fence to separate them.

The pro-police group, brandishing altered American flags with the “thin blue line” symbolizing that cops are what is keeping the United States from descending into chaos, along with “Trump 2020” signs, went head-to-head with BLM protesters while members of the NYPD attempted to ease tensions.

It included BLM protesters claiming that a pro-police rallier assaulted a BLM supporter (WARNING: NSFW LANGUAGE, GESTURES).

As crowds grew more restless, police reinforcements were called in to separate the protesters — though the animosity did not fade.

Black Lives Matter protesters put their hands in the air when additional NYPD officers reported to the scene and chanted “hands up, don’t shoot.” The two groups of protesters then traded chants of “NYPD” and “Black Lives Matter” until the pro-police rally was given the green light to begin marching.

The rally moved down the streets of Bayside with a police escort. A large number of pro-police marchers were seen not wearing masks and not practicing safe social distancing protocols as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spike in a majority of states outside New York.

An NYPD officer was seen marching in front of the group’s banner that read “Rally To The Support Of Law Enforcement,”  while drinking water and speaking with protesters. While he wore a mask, the two protesters he was nearest to did not.

New York has continued to see promising developments regarding the pandemic’s outbreak despite the rest of the nation seeing such troubling numbers. On Saturday, the state reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped below 800 for the first time since March 18.

Marchers, however, did not stick to their route previously approved by NYPD, opting to head back to Crocheron Park. They were quickly rejoined by the BLM movement, and things re-escalated.

Sunday’s demonstration took place just hours after Black Lives Matter protestors marched through the streets of Bayside. This was the second consecutive day of pro-police marches taking place in the city with demonstrations in Queens and Brooklyn on Saturday.

This story first appeared on amny.com.