Ithaca, N.Y. — Coaches and teammates of the Ithaca teens who had a gun pulled on them by a police sergeant turned out Wednesday evening at a rally downtown to show their support.
Although many narratives were in play at the rally — some involving, some excluding race-relations as the central topic of concern — teammates of the boys said that they were there plainly to support their teammates on the Ithaca High School football team.
One teammate, Declan, said that although he’s heard many stories about what happened that night, he did not feel like he was in a place to draw any strong conclusions.
Nevertheless, he still felt like he should come out in support of his teammates.
“I just know that a few of my teammates were affected so I felt like I should show up and show my support for them,” said Declan, a defensive back on the team. “We’re all on the same team, so we share that much.”
Declan said that about 20 players and all of the coaches of the Ithaca High School Football team were in attendance at the rally, which drew a total of over 225 people.
The protest started at around 4 p.m. with a march from the South Side Community Center and continued past 7 p.m., with members of the public speaking at City Hall.
Speeches were given on topics of police violence and structural racism in the city. Attendees held signs saying “Don’t shoot my child” and “Put cameras on cops.” One protester’s sign read “Police: Humanize, don’t militarize.”
Amid the political rhetoric of the event, many speakers urged those in attendance to stay focused on a central worry: the safety of the city’s children. What these boys went through, they said, was dangerous, frightening and unnecessary.