An angry group of mostly white Merrick, Long Island, residents attempted to stop a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd from marching, yelling “Go west!” toward a more diverse town on Tuesday night, reports Patch.com.
The residents wanted Nassau County police to stop the protesters from marching down Merrick Road because they were concerned about violence breaking out due to posts made on social media earlier in the day, reports the news outlet.
Nassau County police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said his officers surrounded the group of about 150 protesters while they marched down Merrick Road to protect them from counter-protesters.
Some residents yelled “Fuck you!” while others yelled “All Lives Matter!” and “Go west!”, urging the protesters to head toward Freeport, which has a diverse population. Merrick is more than 90 percent white, according to Patch.
Seeing this on my timeline when I woke up this am has absolutely destroyed me. This is my hometown of Merrick. My friends and I for years would always discuss the problems that we would see around us — an assistant principal mixing up the two teachers of color at Calhoun (1/?) pic.twitter.com/LCVzxANOTX
— Lindsey Solomon (@lindseypsolomon) June 3, 2020
Some Merrick residents could be seen giving the protesters the middle finger while yelling profanity at them.
“We surrounded the protesters because we protect all of the protesters, no matter what side of the argument they’re on,” he said. “The First Amendment was exercised, and then everybody went home peacefully.”
Community members here in Merrick and surrounding towns adamantly opposed to Nassau police trying to figure out a way to allow protesters to walk up Merrick Road. As of now, police are blocking the protestors. @News12LI pic.twitter.com/F9Qu1g8NSH
— Shari Einhorn (@ShariEinhorn12) June 2, 2020
Ryder added that the Nassau County police officers have a “zero tolerance” policy for any acts of violence or criminal mischief at the protests.
The Merrick Chamber of Commerce denounced the actions of the counter-protesters.
“The Merrick Chamber of Commerce does not support nor condone such behaviors,” the group wrote in a post on Facebook. “Now more than ever, we need the residents to support our local businesses and shop local. Please do not let the behavior of a few be a reflection of us all. In times of uncertainty, we need to work together and support and respect one another.”
“I am overwhelmed with pride. Our residents protested peacefully,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “I’m so proud of Commissioner Ryder and his entire team. Our officers, detectives, our superior officers. It’s times like these when you see why training, why building bridges between our communities and the police, why professionalism, why these are so important.”
LONG ISLAND FINEST !! Merrick Protest March on 06/02/2020. You can see the Cop literally telling the man to stop harrassing Ms.NoNeckKaren. How about having Ms.NoNeckKaren leave, as she is harrassing peaceful protesters and people of the election board pic.twitter.com/SGR8D5yK9O
— crazy bitch kim. (@tu_tiene_sed) June 3, 2020