BRIDGEPORT — A clash between police and protesters outside the city council president’s house was averted Friday afternoon when a half-dozen officers ignored the taunts and walked away.
But it came close.
More than two dozen protesters had gathered outside Aidee Nieve’s Park Street house carrying an assortment of placards supporting Black Lives Matter and denouncing the police. Getting no response from Nieves, who didn’t appear to be home, the protesters hung their signs on her fence.
Jazmarie Melendez, whose 15-year-old brother Jayson Negron was shot to death by a Bridgeport police officer in 2017, took to a bullhorn demanding justice for her brother and others who she claimed were brutalized by city officers.
The crowd cheered as she declared, “We want to defund the police department, when we say defund, we mean defund.”
The crowd made it clear they aren’t looking for police reform they want police departments eliminated and replaced with social workers.
Melendez said they were blaming Nieves for not getting the police department defunded and accused her of corruption.
The protesters said they are also seeking the removal from the city council of Councilwoman Eneida Martinez for operating a strip club where a young man was shot earlier this year.
Martinez is not commenting on the situation.
Martinez closed the strip club in September.
At one point, the protesters restricted a man from leaving Nieve’s home. The man, who did not identify himself, said he needed to get to work but a banner on the fence was preventing the gate from opening.
The protesters taunted the man but eventually let him pass.
A half-dozen police officers then approached the protesters telling them to remove the banner.
The protesters, who jammed the sidewalk in front of the officers, began shouting at them. They were face to face with expletives being yelled at the officers when the officers backed off.
The officers went back about a half a block and stood together on the corner as the protest continued.