Monday, July 11, 2016

Black Lives Still Matter In Cincy

While there were hundreds of arrests across the country over the weekend as police broke up Black Lives Matter protests in dozens of cities, thousands marched peacefully in Cincinnati's demonstrations which went on without incident.

Black Lives Matter protesters and a diverse group of supporters took to the streets for two hours, memorializing black men killed by law-enforcement and calling for just punishment of the police officers responsible for their deaths.

The “Enough is Enough” rally remembered black men who died in the past week at the hands of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Several signs bore the names of the two victims, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, respectively.

The mother of Samuel DuBose, the unarmed black driver shot and killed a year ago by a University of Cincinnati police officer, spoke to the large crowd in front of Cincinnati police headquarters about the loss she suffered. The officer, Ray Tensing, faces a murder trial in the fall.

“When it happens to you, you got a job to do. You are called out," Audrey DuBose said. "Let’s keep fighting. Don’t wait until it happens to your son.”

Local organizers were undeterred by the sniper ambush that killed five police officers and wounded seven more Thursday night during a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas. They took exception to any suggestion the attack was linked with the Black Lives Matter movement.

"They are sniffing for a connection," Brian Taylor, one of three Black Lives Matter Cincinnati steering committee co-chairs, told the large crowd that assembled in front of District 1 police headquarters in the West End. "We are fed up with police brutality. We are fed up with police not being found guilty."

Organizers took several precautions, primarily against what they perceived as potential police harassment. They formed a legal observation team, designated marshals to guide marchers, gave out two phone numbers for on-call lawyers before marching and collected $3,800 on for bail money.

Some of the speakers said the deaths of Dallas police officers were “sad and unfair to their families” but also noted such sympathy is not always shown to the families to African-Americans who died in encounters with police.

Never let it minimize the scope of your own suffering. We are being hunted," Taylor said. "Oppressed people have the greatest capacity for empathy in history."

Cincinnati is often held up as a model of community policing nationally,  but the fact remains that Sam DuBose was still murdered last summer by a UC campus cop, and that Cincinnati and America have a long, long way to go.

Meanwhile, cops are thinking using bomb disposal drones to deliver a breaching charge to deliberately kill suspects is a good idea, so if you thought police reform was going to happen nationally, you're kidding yourself.  San Bernardino, Orlando, and now Dallas have put that idea to rest as police now want more, not less military equipment despite President Obama scaling that back last year.

And this is gear that will be used against people of color, most likely black and Latino people first. I guarantee it.

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