New York City’s West Indian Day Parade, one of the most popular Labor Day fetes in the U.S., attracted more than 1 million people on Monday. The four-mile procession celebrates the city’s Caribbean community. Unfortunately, the parade has also come to be known for violence during the weekend preceding the event, as well as on parade day itself.
At approximately 3:30 a.m. Monday, a man opened fire on a crowd in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, near the parade route, killing one man and injuring two, according to The Wall Street Journal. There were two other shootings in the area, within the same hour as the fatal shooting, which resulted in two injuries, the Journal said.
In 2013, also near the parade route, two people were shot, one person was knifed, a cop was injured, and authorities reported a “brawl,” according to CBS New York. Said CBS, “The violence occurred mostly before the parade and occurred despite a beefed-up police presence.” In 2012, approximately an hour after the parade concluded, two men were stabbed to death in separate incidents, according to The New York Times. Two other people were shot toward the end of the 2012 parade, at approximately 5 p.m., the Times said. (At press time, the NYPD did not confirm the 2014 numbers to Newsweek.)
Some reactions to this violence by NYPD members, as well as to the parade, have also become notorious. In 2011, reports revealed that a Facebook page called “No More West Indian Day Detail,” intended for “N.Y.P.D. officers who are threatened by superiors and forced to be victims themselves by the violence of the West Indian Day massacre,” featured numerous, racially charged comments about the event, as well as about West Indian and African-American neighborhoods in general. For example, comments called participants “savages” and “animals.” One commenter said, “Drop a bomb and wipe them all out.” The NYPD disciplined 17 cops for these comments, according to the New York Daily News.
With that backdrop and in the wake of several high-profile killings of black men by police—including Eric Garner, on Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri—one might wonder what some NYPD members are now saying about the parade. Thee Rant, a popular message board for NYPD members (as well as other law enforcement personnel, firefighters and military members), has several threads discussing the parade, and many responses are racially charged. (These posts are anonymous, but Thee Rant claims that only those “on the job” in the above-mentioned public safety fields can sign up for the site, as an ID card is required for membership.)
In a thread excerpting a newspaper article about the parade, a poster who goes by the name “OldSchoolCop” wrote, “The savages have won. Protect yourselves, your families, other LE and their families. And when the liberal democrats start demanding that you ‘save’ them from their own misguided, defeatist social experiments...laugh in their face and tell them the same thing they told us after 9/11. ‘No free lunch.’”
In a thread titled “are you kidding me,” a user named “tell it how it is” refers to the parade as “animal day parade.”
In a thread titled “I feel bad for all the MOS out in that jungle” (MOS stands for “members of service), “MY TWO SENSE” commented, “The mere interaction with those people involved and the complete lack of respect for each other made me realize how much of a sheet culture the West Indies really are. These people could give a fck less about each other...they assault, rape, pillage, you name it, and they have no problem dumping bags of garbage on their own front lawns. Thank God I never have to work that crap detail ever again.”
“Da job sucks,” who posted the thread “Yearly Savage Day parade poll,” kicked off a discussion by asking forum members to wager how many violent crimes would take place, writing: “Ok let’s have an organized poll this year. Winner get a famous no-prize Homicides-6 Shootings-10 Stabbings-9 First Homicide of weekend confines of 67 [precinct].” The aforementioned “OldSchoolCop” posted: Homicides: 2 Shootings: 7 Edged Weapon: 8 First Homicide of weekend: confines of 77. And here’s what WON’T happen: Riots relating to niggles killing other niggles.”
After making a guess, “ZuluSurvivor” said, “I cant wait for the blood bath.” A user named “Rebel” wrote about Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife, Chirlane (who is African-American), and their two children’s participation, saying, “Deblowzio family just finished thier watermelon and banana breakfast. They are getting ready to put on their butterfly custumes to fly down the parkway. The head Deblowzio goes as a spear chucker.”
“Rebel” later commented: “Ooga! Booga! Ooga! Booga! Where’s the spears? Did WIGLO (West Indian Gay and Lesbian Organization) march too?”
At press time, the NYPD had not responded to Newsweek’s requests for comment on these posts.