Nearly 100 people gathered in north Minneapolis to rally against police brutality.
The protest that brought out a diverse group of citizens was a part of the National Day Against Police Brutality. Along with activities in the Twin Cities, protest and rallies were held in more than 90 other cities throughout the nation. The national coming together was spawned by the rash of deaths of people – most African-Americans – at the hands of police officers. In particular the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. has ignited outrage among citizens. Brown was gunned down by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. Brown was unarmed when he was killed and witnesses say he was surrendering when he was struck with the fatal bullet. It total, Brown was shot six times by Wilson.
“We need to demand justice for Michael Brown, but also for all the Michael Browns in Minneapolis, St. Paul and all the Twin Cities,” said Michelle Gross, one of the organizers of the Minneapolis march and rally. “We need to say thank you to (the people of) Ferguson. As awful as the situation was in Ferguson, the people of Ferguson came out and said we won’t go away.”
Since the killing of Brown there have been ongoing protests in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.
One of the Minneapolis protesters, Apollyon Kennedy-Bey said he was standing up against brutality … a brutality of which he claimed to be a first-hand victim. According to Kennedy-Bey, he was brutalized by Metro Transit Police while at a platform in St. Paul.
“They beat me and gave me seven stitches,” said Kennedy-Bey. “I was tased so bad that I defecated on myself.”
Kennedy-Bey said he was initially charged with a crime for the incident, but those charges were later dropped and he’s seeking a civil suit against Metro Transit.
Eric Martin said he was marching to show solidarity for those victimized by the ones sworn to protect.
“What’s going on in this country is wrong. The people we’re paying to protect us are brutalizing us,” said Martin. “The police have a hard job, but at the same time they have to have compassion. I’ve got a son and my son could easily be a Trayvon Martin.”
Martin was killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman while walking home from a neighborhood store in Florida. Zimmerman used the Stand Your Ground defense to justify his gunning down of 17-year-old Martin. A jury found Zimmerman not guilty of any wrongdoing and Zimmerman was acquitted.
“I’m here doing my best to stop police brutality. It’s not going to stop if nobody does anything,” said protester Luis Benavides.
The group called for a change in the Minneapolis city charter that would require all officers to carry personal liability insurance policies. The march, which started at North Commons Park culminated outside of the Fourth District headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department. Once there, protesters used yellow police tape to wrap off the building making it a symbolic crime scene. Protesters also laid on the ground to pay tribute to those killed by police.