Tallahassee demands Justice for Michael Brown
Tallahassee, FL – Around 100 Dream Defenders and community members gathered in Lake Ella Park, Aug. 18, to speak out against the police murder of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The rally also focused on the injustice of police brutality and systematic racism perpetuated by the U.S. The crowd was tired of the criminalization of Black and Brown people.
Dream Defenders President Brian Marshall started off the action, stating, “We must no longer stand for this New Jim Crow system and we must put an end to the criminalization of our youth.” The demonstrators then marched on the Tallahassee Police Department. The crowd was upbeat with their hands up, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot! “ Protesters gathered at the entrance of the Police Department where one by one, protesters voiced their anger with the racist status quo.
The rally not only brought attention to the killing of Mike Brown but also to brought to light to the misuse of police power and instances of police brutality in the Tallahassee community.
Vice president of the Dream Defenders, Regina Joseph, spoke on police misuse of power. She recounted the horrific case of a police shooting at a Tallahassee club. An unarmed teenager, Duane Strong, was killed by a police officer in the parking lot. The officer later claimed Strong attempted to back into the officer’s car. Although there were no grounds for the shooting, the police officer has yet to face any punishment whatsoever. Since 2000, over 24 cases of police shooting have occurred where there have been instances of police brutality or misuse of power, yet no real investigation has occurred.
FAMU Dream Defenders Vice president, Everton Foster, spoke out against the misuse of police power and accountability, stating, “At the root of police brutality problem is power. The American government has given the police excessive weaponry, excessive power and has made them responsible for very little.”
Other protesters brought light to issues regarding the downright racist misconduct used by police. Florida State University Dream Defenders organizer, Avinash Ramanathan, stated, “ We must stand against oppression wherever it takes place. We are now seeing the violent use of American power both abroad and at home. We must stand with the Palestinian people who are facing the oppression of Israeli bombings done with the help of the U.S.”
The continued uprising in Ferguson and the nationwide actions in solidarity are finally putting the system of the New Jim Crow under trial by the people. Missouri police have resorted to tear gas and jailing protesters. To add another insult to injury, Missouri’s Governor Nixon has gone as far as to call in the National Guard. As a result of this blatant disregard for Black and Brown life, the widespread discontent has now growing.