EAST FLATBUSH — A rally for slain 16-year-old Kimani Gray, who was shot by cops on Saturday, erupted in violence late Wednesday with one officer reportedly smashed in the face with a brick, a squad car's rear window shattered and dozens of arrests.
More than 100 angry demonstrators marched down Church Avenue toward the 67th Precinct stationhouse, shouting "F--- the police!" By the end of the night, cops had arrested between 45 and 50 people, according to the New York Times and New York Post.
A police spokesman couldn't confirm the arrest totals Thursday morning.
Wednesday marked the third night in a row of large protests in response to the deadly shooting of Gray, who was hit with seven bullets after he allegedly pointed a loaded .38-caliber revolver at two undercover NYPD officers late Saturday night.
It was the second march that escalated into violence.
On Monday night, a large crowd broke off from a candlelight vigil for Gray and allegedly threw bottles at police, broke shop windows and ransacked and robbed a Rite Aid.
Tempered by rain, Tuesday night's protest was much calmer.
But tense clashes between police and protesters resumed on Wednesday night.
In one standoff, police in riot gear tried to turn a large crowd of demonstrators from Church Avenue onto East 48th Street. Several people were arrested.
"We were just walking!" one young man shouted as police led him away in handcuffs.
Later, another protester reportedly smashed an officer's face with a brick, according to the Post and Times.
The People's Justice Coalition's Cop Watch program attended the protest to monitor it, but Steve Kohut, an organizer with the program, said several of the monitors were arrested while standing on the sidewalk.
"Things were getting out of hand," Kohut said.
The evening started with a group of several hundred people gathering at Church Avenue and East 55th Street at 7 p.m. for a vigil, where Gray's parents were slated to speak alongside community leaders.
But once the crowd grew rowdy and groups broke off to begin marching through the neighborhood, Gray's parents changed their mind, said City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been in touch with Gray's family.
Williams said Gray's parents were upset that some protesters have been using Gray's death as an excuse for violence.
"The family does not condone what happened [Monday night]," Williams said. "It's destructive."
Gray's teary-eyed sister stood beside Williams as he spoke, clutching a framed photo of her brother.
Many of those who attended the vigil said they were still mourning Gray's sudden death.
"He was a sweetheart. He was a baby," said Shenea Boddington, 27, who lives nearby and said she'd known Gray for his whole life. "We want to come and show our support. It's the same story over and over."
Frank Graham, whose 18-year-old son Ramarley Graham was shot dead by police in his Bronx home last summer, joined the vigil to support Gray's family.
"Why is it only black kids being killed? They don't do this on 86th Street," Frank Graham said. "When will it stop? How long are they going to kill kids?"