'Black Lives Matter' protesters take to the streets of New Haven - WFSB 3 Connecticut

'Black Lives Matter' protesters take to the streets of New Haven

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People participate in 'die-in' protest in New Haven. (WFSB) People participate in 'die-in' protest in New Haven. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

 Dozens of people participated in a "die-in" protest in New Haven on Friday afternoon and hundreds took to the streets on Friday night during a 'Black Lives Matter' protest. 

The New Haven Green was filled with people laying on the ground around 1:30 p.m. Protesters circled the green in New Haven and chanted "no justice, no peace."

"The idea was to stand in solidarity," Amelia Sherwood, of New Haven, said. "Our main point is to bring people together to not separate us, but to unite us. A united front, this is hitting home for everyone."

Close to the protesters, there were plenty of new haven police to keep the peace. New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said peace Is needed now more than ever following the Dallas shooting in which officers were targeted and killed.

"It certainly does nothing to further the discussion about how people are treated by law enforcement in our country," Harp said. 

The protest comes in protest of recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. 

Philando Castle was shot and killed by an officer in Minnesota and after the incident, his fiancee streamed his death on Facebook Live. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by officers in Baton Rouge. The investigation regarding the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Sterling has been handed over to the FBI.  

"The police force cannot be seen as the other, they have to be seen as a part of all us," Harp said. 

Lia Miller-Granger organized the Black Lives Matter rally on the New Haven Green. She said what happened this week and Thursday opened a lot of eyes.

"Before Dallas happened, people were still on the fence," Miller-Granger said. "Unfortunately, it brought people over the fence to say, you know what, this is crazy, we have to do something about it and we have to do what we can."

While no threats have been made in New Haven, Harp said changes are being made. Patrol officers, who usually work alone, will be paired up.

"Often times, there is a little spill over from what happens nationally, so you'll see two officers in a car," Harp said. "They'll be walking together in our communities as well."

Police told Eyewitness News they'all also using other methods which will make patrol patterns less predictable.

"The New Haven Police Department command staff has addressed each of the patrol and detective roll-calls and discussed with officers the modification. The directive to officers is clear; provide for New Haven’s and your own safety," police said in a statement on Friday. 

The rally is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in New Haven. Miller-Granger said their message is clear. 

"A lot of people are hurt, we're confused, we're fearful, we're mad, angry, so many adjectives," Miller-Granger said. "So this tonight is a rally, for people to come together, who want to help."

The protest was supposed to take place on the green, and that is where it began and ended, but the protesters took to the streets at one point. 

The demonstrators stopped traffic on multiple roads as they cut through the city. They marched about a mile and a half for about 45 minutes. 

"Why block traffic, why was it so important to cut through the streets. Because these are our streets, we pay taxes just like everybody else and people are getting killed in these streets, so it was extremely important to be in the streets because this is our, this is our city," said Amelia Sherwood, a protester. 

If you took your eyes off the throng of marchers, it was was clear the reason the protest could continue peacefully was because of the police officers who shut down the streets on the fly and kept everyone safe. 

"It was definitely a pivotal moment, any of the police officers I talked to they were extremely kind, they were extremely helpful and I appreciate them," Sherwood said. 

"It was not to do anything other than to show solidarity, to show that we are together," said Ron Hurt, a protester. 

Hurt appreciates the way New Haven Police protected the demonstration, but feels recent officer involved shootings prove society has a long way to go. He hopes the marchers help it takes steps in the right direction. 

"Maybe it was not what the city may have wanted, but look what it's done, it's brought unity," Hurt said. 

New Haven police have not said if anyone got hurt or arrested during the march. 

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