Protesters fill Northampton streets, swarm police station

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  • Left, Maya Williams, Amelia Rothenbach and Angelina Miller, co-organizers of a protest of police violence and racism, begin the march in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Maya Williams marches with other protesters of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • At least 1,000 protesters filled the streets of Northampton Monday for a protest in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes last Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters stand atop a wall at the Northampton Police Station during a rally against police violence and racism, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism rally at the Northampton Police Station, Monday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism rally at the Northampton Police Station, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group of men stand atop a wall at the Northampton Police Station during a protest against police violence and racism, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters against police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Protesters rally at the Northampton Police Station after a march from Sheldon Field, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sophia Corwin with other protesters of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Aviva Skoblow with other protesters during a protest of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Kamariah Jackman with other protesters of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Samantha Hession, 4, watch as protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Destiny Ware with other protesters of police violence and racism chants, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jennifer Martinez with other protesters of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Ryan Seery and Kevin Long lead a chant during a protest of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism remove the American flag in front of the police station and replace it with a Black Lives Matter flag Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • At least 1,000 protesters filled the streets of Northampton Monday for a protest in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes last Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism remove the American flag in front of the police station and replace it with a Black Lives Matter flag Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism remove the American flag in front of the police station and replace it with a Black Lives Matter flag Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism march and carry signs in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A protester writes on the Northampton Police station during a protest of police violence and racism Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A protester writes on the Northampton Police station during a protest of police violence and racism Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A protester writes on the Northampton Police station during a protest of police violence and racism Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters and police officers face off during a confrontation that was followed by protesters being pepper-sprayed. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Police pepper spray protesters as the officers retreat from the protesters at a march in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters react to being pepper-sprayed during a confrontation with Northampton police officers during a march in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters react to being pepper-sprayed during a confrontation with Northampton police officers during a march in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters react to being pepper-sprayed during a confrontation with Northampton police officers during a march in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters react to being pepper-sprayed during a confrontation with Northampton police officers during a march in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism stop traffic on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Bryanna Colon chants “Say his name” with other protesters of police violence and racism in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism stop traffic on Main Street in downtown Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • After marching, protesters stand off against police in Northampton. Protesters where asking officers to take a knee with them, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates during a protest against police violence and racism. Protesters where asking officers to take a knee with them to end the standoff, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates starts negotiating with police officer AJ Powers and the crowd of protesters during a protest of police violence and racism. The protesters were chanting “Take a knee” to the officers in Northampton Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates starts negotiating with police officer AJ Powers during a protest of police violence and racism. The protesters were chanting “take a knee” to the officers in Northampton Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates starts negotiating with police officer AJ Powers during a Northampton protest of police violence and racism. The protesters were chanting “take a knee” to the officers Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates and other protesters take a knee as they try negotiating with police officer AJ Powers during a protest of police violence and racism. The protesters were chanting “take a knee” to the officers in Northampton Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates and other protesters take a knee as they try negotiating with police officer AJ Powers during a protest in Northampton against police violence and racism. The protesters were chanting “Take a knee” to the officers Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism during the standoff portion of the march. Protesters where asking officers to take a knee with them, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A protester yells in anger as police officers say “We will stand with you” instead of taking a knee during the standoff portion of a protest of police violence and racism in Northampton, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Protesters of police violence and racism asked officers to take a knee with them in Northampton Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • State trooper Mike Habel begins negotiating with protesters as Northampton Police Lt. Alan Borowski and Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper listen. The protesters were asking for the officers to take a knee with them to end the standoff. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates gets confirmation from the protesters that if the officers take a knee, the crowd will disperse, during a standoff with police in Northampton Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • State trooper Mike Habel and protester Grace Coates fist bump as the negotiating comes to an end. The protesters were asking for officers to take a knee with them to end the standof STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates, center, raises an arm after left Northampton Police Lt. Alan Borowski, Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper and State Trooper Mike Habel took a knee ending a long standoff between police and protesters at the Northampton police station, Monday, June 1, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates, center, embraces State Trooper Mike Habel as Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper Northampton Police Lt. Alan Borowski look on, following a long standoff between police and protesters at the Northampton police station, Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grace Coates, center, embraces State Trooper Mike Habel as Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper looks on, following a long standoff between police and protesters at the Northampton police station, Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2020 3:57:24 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A state trooper and two Northampton officers, including the police chief, took a knee shortly before 6 p.m. Monday after protesters had been occupying the alleyway adjacent to the police station for well over an hour, shouting “take a knee, take a knee!” and “Kneel with us — we will respect you, if you respect us.”

Shortly after State Trooper Mike Habel, Police Chief Jody Kasper and Northampton Police Lt. Alan Borowski kneeled, protesters left the alley and dispersed. “I think they want to know that what they saw, we saw,” said Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper, “and that we don’t stand for that, either.”

Earlier in the day, protesters took down an American flag in front of the Northampton Police Station as a crowd of people clapped and drums beat in the background. A barefoot man from the crowd then climbed up the flagpole, raising a Black Lives Matters flag in its place.

The action was part of a rally that drew over 1,000 people to the city streets in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes last Monday.

“I’ve been worried about police brutality since I was a kid,” Angelina Miller, one of the march’s organizers, told her fellow protesters while they rallied outside the station. “The color of my skin is not a weapon.”

Miller, a tenth grader at LightHouse Holyoke who lives in Northampton, wasn’t able to go to the protest in Boston Sunday, so she and a group of friends decided to organize their own. “I’m a person of color — this could have happened to my family,” she said, speaking to the Gazette about police brutality. “Racism is everywhere … It’s in Northampton.”

Protesters filled the streets wearing masks and shouting refrains like, “No justice, no peace,” during the march, which began at 2 p.m. with participants gathering at Sheldon Field. Cars honked as the crowd made its way down Main Street in downtown Northampton.

“George Floyd — say his name,” they chanted. “No Trump, no KKK, no fascists USA,” they shouted. People carried signs like “Racism is a public health emergency” and “White silence = violence.”

Organizers asked fellow protesters in their online flyer promoting the event to “please bring signs, masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves. Please stay six feet apart.” Most wore face coverings — some wrote “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe” on their masks — but it was difficult to maintain social distance in the large crowd.

The crowd gathered outside the police department and filled Center Street, where several student organizers spoke. “Stop killing us,” Maya Williams, one of the young organizers, a tenth grader at Northampton High School, told the crowd. “Black Lives Matter.”

“We need to use our white privilege to be allies,” Amelia Rothenbach, a classmate of Williams, told the crowd. “We can’t sit by any longer.”

The police department is expecting a nearly $200,000 increase in funding in Mayor David Narkewicz’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, noted protester Andrea Schmid. “We need to defund the Northampton Police Department,” she said into the microphone, prompting cheers from the crowd. “Now is the time to redistribute those funds for PPE and for housing.” She encouraged protesters to participate in hearings about the proposed budget.

After speeches, chanting and several minutes of silence, Miller told the crowd the formal protest was over, though people were free to stay, she said. “This is a peaceful gathering.”

The crowd stayed in the streets, shouting chants like “Not one more.”

Some people climbed on top of a wall outside the police station. Other marchers wrote messages of protest on the brick exterior of the station — some in chalk and at least one in spray paint — such as “F the police” and “No tyrants.”

As the day wore on, police came out and used pepper spray to hold off the crowd so they could reenter the station.

The Northampton protest came on the heels of a rally Sunday on the Amherst Town Common, one of dozens of such gatherings across the country following Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who killed him, was charged with third-degree murder Friday.

“Another unarmed black man was murdered by the police. His name is George Floyd,” the teen organizers wrote in a flyer for the Monday march. “It is time to speak out and for our voices to be heard. Police brutality is not new and it’s time to change how people of color are being treated by the law.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.


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