‘They’ve done nothing’: Protesters demand answers from NYPD following incidents at Bayside protests

Photo by Dean Moses

Bayside’s Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside of the 111th Precinct on Sunday, July 26, calling for answers following incidents that took place when pro-police rally and BLM groups faced off at Crocheron Park two weeks ago, including one in which a woman with the BLM group was slapped in the face by an unidentified man wearing an “NYPD” shirt.

Kristen McManu, 37, was that woman. She attended Sunday’s protest at the 111th Precinct, located at 45-06 215th St., and said she hasn’t heard from the police more than a week after she filed a report about the assault.

“Through the community board in Bayside, I was told that what happened to me is not an arrestable offense. The captain told the community board that and that they would not be pursuing anything,” she said. “The captain had said he would meet with me over a week ago and I have yet to hear back. They’ve done nothing and they’re continuing to do nothing.”

McManus, a Bayside resident, said the last thing she heard from the 111th Precinct was that “nobody was assigned” to her case.

Following the incidents at Crocheron Park, QNS sent the NYPD various emails and made several phone calls with questions regarding what happened. QNS has followed up for a week, but each time, an NYPD spokesperson has said “there are no updates” about McManus’ case, and can’t confirm whether what happened to her is or isn’t an arrestable offense.

Protesters were met with barricades along the vicinity of the 111th Precinct on Sunday, with 215th Street closed off to traffic. Throughout the almost three hours of protesting, there were about 30 BLM demonstrators and 20 police officers standing by the precinct.

The BLM group was joined by some members of the Warriors in the Garden — a collective of activists dedicated to non-violent protest throughout New York City — who were also at the tumultuous protest in Crocheron Park on July 12.

Video from that day shows that one of their members, 21-year-old Yacine Diallo, was beaten by several officers, including one wearing a white shirt, and later arrested. He told QNS he didn’t even see it coming and he was later charged with “inciting a riot,” among other charges.

“Last time I was here at this police precinct, we were waiting for one of our group members to get out, because he got charged with inciting a riot,” said a member of Warriors in the Garden. “When she was hit in the face, there’s literally a picture of this right here … It’s crazy to me that y’all have done nothing about this.”

At the small protest, there were teens, adults and even some kids — one of whom took to the bullhorn to ask, “Why aren’t you protecting people?”

While some cars and buses honked in support of the protest, there were a number of shouts opposing it. One man in an SUV stopped in the middle of the road to yell profanities at the protesters — “you’re all just a bunch of misfits,” he yelled — and ran a red light. Protesters pointed out to the onlooking police officers that he ran a red light, but they didn’t react.

Photo by Dean Moses

Yulia Pechenkina, 19, who grew up in Bayside and recently moved to Long Island, said she wanted to support the protest at the 111th Precinct after seeing the videos of McManus as well as another protester with Warriors in the Garden who got called a derogatory word by a teacher in front of the precinct as they waited for Diallo two weeks ago.

“I always thought there were racists on Long Island, but not in Bayside,” said Pechenkina, as she held a sign with a picture of the man slapping McManus that read, “Is it okay to assault another human being if I’m wearing an NYPD shirt? Asking for a ‘friend.'”

While the 111th Precinct has not answered questions regarding the incidents that took place two Sundays ago, a few days following the events they posted a pixelated photo of a protester on Facebook, stating the suspect allegedly removed “a victim’s cellphone” that same day.

A similar altercation took place on July 12 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where pro-police and Black Lives Matter protesters also faced off and resulted in a series of violent moments including one in which a man with the pro-police group punched a woman with the BLM group. According to Gothamist, the man was not arrested even though police saw what happened.

When asked about the reported incidents in Bayside, Queens City Councilman Donovan Richards, chair of Committee on Public Safety and the lead candidate for Queens borough president, told QNS he’s calling for the NYPD to “find and charge” the unidentified man.

“We cannot have a ‘look the other way’ attitude when it comes to protecting our public. Whether someone is pro-police or not, they should face the consequences of their actions. I am calling for the NYPD to find and charge the man who insulted Kristen McManus,” Richards said. “From what we’ve been told, body cam footage was not recorded during the altercation. That is a huge red flag. Body cam footage should always remain on when an officer is engaging with the public and in the field. What we see here is unacceptable on so many levels.”

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