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East Meadow march protesting police brutality draws about 150

Demonstrators march alongside Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow

Demonstrators march alongside Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow to decry police brutality on Saturday, June 9, 2016. Credit: Jim Staubitser

About 150 protesters marched Saturday afternoon alongside Hempstead Turnpike to decry police brutality.

Demonstrators gathered at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, carrying signs declaring “Long Island stands against police brutality” and “Am I next?”

The peaceful protest was organized by Iverne Rolle, 22, of Hempstead, who said she wanted to give an opportunity for Long Island to speak out against police violence.

She led a group prayer for peace before the march.

“I pray we will be saved through this entire ordeal, and for the police departments that this will end peacefully,” Rolle said.

She stressed that the protest was not against police, but to put an end to police brutality and to remember lives lost at the hands of certain officers.

There was no mention of the five officers killed Thursday in Dallas, but some said when asked that the protests should never turn violent.

Nassau County police officers in marked and unmarked cars drove alongside the protesters as they marched down Hempstead Turnpike to Merrick Avenue and back.

Police provided an escort to the demonstration and only intervened when protesters veered into the street toward traffic. No arrests were reported.

Police officials worked with organizers during the demonstration, but declined to comment to the media.

George Finney, 35, of Queens, wore a T-shirt that read “I’m black” and raised his hands as protesters chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

“We need some accountability and changes to the procedures of how young people are treated in this community,” Finney said. “Young black men deserve the same benefit of the doubt as anyone else, instead of being treated as thugs and targets.”

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