In a continuation of the months-long protests against racial violence, last night nearly 200 people marched up Atlantic Avenue seemingly in response to the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a black man, on Monday in West Philadelphia.
According to reports from the NYPD, 27 people were arrested as a result of the protests, with top charges being assault on police officers, possession of graffiti instruments, unlawful assembly, and disorderly contact.
Nine police vehicles were reported vandalized with broken windows and graffiti, and five officers sustained minor injuries. The report did not indicate if any protestors had sustained injuries. 39 commercial properties were damaged, as well as municipal buildings and one statue.
The NYPD released an advisory on Twitter, urging people to take alternate routes due to the large presence of emergency vehicles.
Photos taken by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce showed windows at the Urban Outfitters and Bank of America on Atlantic Avenue were smashed, and numerous buildings were tagged with things like “capitalism will fall… soon” and “revolution nothing less”.
The Atlantic Avenue Business in Development District reported several businesses on the Avenue with damage, including D+W Nail Salon, Sahadi’s, and Atlantic Bicycle Shop.
This morning, members of the Atlantic Avenue BID, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership walked the area to catch up with business owners and assess damages. Kate Chura, the Executive Director of the Atlantic Avenue BID, was among the group.
“Our understanding from the NYPD is that the original march started in Fort Greene Park and this was a sort of spillover splinter group, which has kind of been the MO that we’ve seen,” Chura said. According to her, some of the major banks had already started replacing windows.
Barbara De Bois, a manager at the Brazen Head Bar on Atlantic Avenue, was working last night during the protest.
“They were coming by and they just took our furniture and were taking it with them and throwing it down the street, but nothing was really damaged,” De Bois said. “[They] pulled umbrellas off, threw the chairs down the block. We were able to recover everything.”
De Bois also noticed a difference in the attitude of the group this time.
“They seemed really angry and aggressive. We’ve had a lot of the protests walk by here and mostly they’ve been very peaceful, just trying to get a message across, and this was just a very angry protest,” she said.
For the future, Chura says she doesn’t quite know how to help businesses prepare.
“It’s always best to build relationships, but if you have people coming from nowhere it’s going to take a larger effort. Coordination, intervention. Or, everyone just goes and puts down a roll-down door. But these are businesses that are barely able to keep the doors open during the pandemic,” she said.