By Evan Triantafilidis
Five people were arrested after a large group of protestors marched through Middle Village on Friday, damaging property along the way.
The group was observed by officers at about 8:30 p.m. marching and throwing garbage cans in the path of police vehicles attempting to follow them.
Police also say the group attempted to break mailboxes, damage parked vehicles and tore down several flags.
Social media posts by the NYPD and Councilman Robert Holden on Friday night and Saturday morning show vehicles damaged and one car spray-painted with the words “F— You.” Its “Thin Blue Line” flag decal was spray-painted over.
“The NYPD takes its responsibility to protect the 1st amendment rights of peaceful demonstrators seriously,” the NYPD posted to Twitter. “Just as important is the safety of NYers & the protection of property from people breaking the law in the name of protest. As seen tonight in Queens, they will be arrested.”
None of the five people arrested were from Queens, They face charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and obstructing governmental administration, among others. A hatchet, axe and spray paint were also recovered by police.
Kyrk Freeman, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn; Charles Edmonds, a 37-year-old from Freehold, New Jersey; Jonathan Lefkowitz, a 38-year-old from Brooklyn; Daniel Wattley, a 28-year-old from Brooklyn; and Alexander Davis, a 33-year-old from Brooklyn were takeninto custody.
Demonstrators hit the streets just hours after the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was announced on Friday afternoon. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges, including first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the August 2020. Rittenhouse fatally shot two protestors and injured a third in the riots that occured in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Holden renewed his call for peaceful protests during a press conference with mayor-elect Eric Adams the following day.
Speaking to this paper, Holden said the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case was an excuse for what he calls “anarchists” and “spoiled brats” to cause damage.
“They’re totally misguided,” said Holden. “These idiots were looking for anything to destroy.
The councilman said the neighborhood could have been targeted because it is a “pro-police” neighborhood.
“They could’ve targeted us because we were white, if they’re doing that it’s racism,” said Holden.
Elsewhere on social media, videos show police following protestors and threatening them with arrest. The footage shows a group yelling, “Good night, alt-right! No Nazis in our town tonight!”
Adams released a statement following the Rittenhouse verdict focused on reforming the country’s gun laws.
“The Rittenhouse ruling should be the last horrifying piece of evidence we need to reverse dangerous gun laws in America and reject the culture of hate and bias that leads to violence,” it read.
“Whether it’s in Southern Wisconsin or East New York, guns sold in one state are used to create death and mayhem on the streets of another day.”