Activists on Thursday called on local officials to drop all charges against protestors demanding justice for Black lives. Mass arrests have become more common in the last year, with 646 people arrested during a march last November, and another 150 at a protest after the killing of Daunte Wright in April. Some say they are an intimidation tactic to discourage protests against police brutality.
Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Activists on Thursday called on local officials to drop all charges against protestors for Black lives. Among them was Eric Dorland with Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota. He is one of 646 people who were arrested during a march on I-94 last November.
“The political statement made by the state when they arrested us was that they do not see our issues as legitimate,” he said. “They are opposed to [the] justice that we are standing up for.”
Dorland said the arrests were an intimidation tactic to discourage protesting against police violence. Mass arrests have become more common in the last year, with over 150 people arrested following protests after the police killing of Daunte Wright in April.
Immigrant rights advocate Francisco Sanchez says protests were a key part of the fight for justice in the George Floyd case.
“The public lynching of George Floyd pushed the people to act. Nobody should be punished for demanding justice for stolen life, much less punished by the city who took the life in the first place,” said Sanchez.
This more than a year after pawn shop owner John Rieple shot into a crowd protesting for George Floyd, hitting and killing Minneapolis resident Calvin Horton, Jr. No charges were brought in that case.
“There are protesters in this crowd right now that spent more time in jail than John Rieple did,” said activist Toussaint Morrison on Wednesday, when community members gathered on East Lake Street for what would have been Horton’s 45th birthday.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said there was not sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges in the shooting. According to his office, the investigators had not found video footage or witnesses to clarify what happened during the unrest, but would reconsider charges if evidence appears.
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