NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan was among several members of the department who sustained injuries after an anti-violence march over the Brooklyn Bridge turned ugly when two opposing groups of protesters converged on the span, setting off clashes and arrests on Wednesday morning.
Members of the faith community, including bishops and reverends from the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, where a 1-year-old boy was fatally shot at a cookout over the weekend, organized a rally billed as the "Power of Prayer – Stop the Violence March."
"We are coming to unite and try to bring all sides to peace and sit down and let's discuss our dilemmas intelligently," said Bishop Gerald Seabrooks from Rehoboth Cathedral in Bedford-Stuyvesant. "Our city needs healing, our city needs tranquility, our city needs transformation."
Joining in the march, which kicked off at 9 a.m. at Cadman Plaza, was a contingent from the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
The Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge was closed to allow that march to make its way over to the Manhattan side to City Hall.
As the "Back the Blue"-type march in support of police started onto the span, they were met by dozens of counter-demonstrators, with an unknown affiliation. Those counter-protesters reportedly locked arms and at some point the police moved in and made some arrests.
There were some scuffles on the bridge and pedestrian walkway.
WCBS 880's Steve Burns captured video of confrontations between police and a handful of protesters on the pedestrian walkway. Burns reported some protesters were thrown to the ground by police and one protester was smashed up against the railing of the pedestrian walkway.
Burns also saw one officer was seen bleeding from his forehead.
The NYPD posted photos to its Twitter account of some of their officers with bloodied faces following clashes with protesters. Among those hurt was Monahan, the highest-ranking uniformed officer, who suffered a minor injury to his hand after officers were hit by a chain.
In a previous Tweet, the NYPD said the protest was not peaceful and "will not be tolerated."
As the "Stop the Violence March" made its way to Manhattan, the group took the ramp onto Centre Street in a strategic move to avoid the Occupy City Hall protest, which is still going strong with a few dozen people. Burns reported there were two lines of NYPD officers, some wearing helmets, to keep the two groups separate.
This comes as the city searches for answers to combat a spike in gun violence in recent weeks.
At least 11 shootings occurred over the last 24 hours in New York City.
In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, six people were shot, one fatally, just after 2 a.m.
There was also a shooting in Far Rockaway, Queens where a stepfather and stepson killed each other after resorting to gunfire to settle an argument.
The mayor on Wednesday announced a new effort to combat gun violence in Brooklyn by deploying more NYPD officers and mobilizing members of the community.