On Sunday, Oct. 27, around 11:30 a.m., the Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, veteran pastor and civil rights leader, along with church and community members, blocked the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge via Flatbush Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for over an hour.
The action grew out of an altercation between the reverend and a traffic officer at the intersection of Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue. Daughtry claims that the officer saw that he was blocked from entering the lane leading to the bridge. Thinking that the officer would understand his plight, Daughtry approached her. She immediately started screaming and hurling insults. Whereupon he refused to move, she threatened to give him a ticket, which she did, reaching through the window of his car and placing it on the dashboard.
At the request of another officer, Daughtry moved his car to the side of the street and made calls to his churches. Within a half an hour, the area was filled with people coming from as far as Jersey City. At the command of Daughtry, they moved to block the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. Negotiations with top officials, which had broken down prior to the street takeover, continued and were finally resolved when apologies were offered.
Said Daughtry, “I wanted to make a point not just for myself, but for John and Jane Q. Citizen. People who exercise authority at whatever level need to respect the people who are paying their salaries. Indeed, there should be respect for all people, even the homeless who have no salaries to pay. I wanted to use this as a ‘teaching moment’ to show people that they don’t have to take abuse and disrespect from anybody, and that a few people, acting in concert, can bring a change in attitudes and actions from the highest authorities. I had some young men and women I wanted to train in this kind of protest.”
After the demonstration, the parishioners returned to the church at 415 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn and continued their worship. The NYPD did not respond to an AmNews request for comment.