Repression & Resistance: Week in Protest, January 29 – February 4

Photo credit: 11Alive

“Repression and Resistance” is a column from Tribune of the People that highlights rebellions and repression happening in protests across the US each week. If you want us to cover a protest happening in your city, please send us a pitch.

Atlanta, GA

Protesters blocked Interstate 75 on Thursday in response to District Attorney Fanni Willis’s decision to move the prosecutions of Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe, the Atlanta officers who murdered Rayshard Brooks last June, to the Georgia attorney general. Protesters were also outraged by the Atlanta Police Department reinstating officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who tased two students as they were driving after a protest last summer. Police detained at least 11 protesters after clearing the highway.

The Brooks family also celebrated what would have been Rayshard’s 28th birthday last Sunday, holding a rally at the Wendy’s where police murdered him. Family and supporters released balloons in his honor.

“I don’t ever want him to be forgotten and I also don’t want other people whose name has been forgotten,” Brooks’s widow Tomika Miller said to the crowd that had gathered. “We need to bring that back up. I didn’t know how much police injustice there was until my husband died.”

Phoenix, AZ

Transcripts and other evidence was published this week from the grand jury indictment of 18 protesters in Maricopa county, who are facing up to 32 years each for gang-related charges after allegedly chanting anti-police slogans during a march in Phoenix last October. The documents show how prosecutor April Sponsel (who is married to a Department of Public Safety trooper) twisted Arizona’s vague laws against gangs to make the protesters out to be gang members on the basis that they were speaking out against police violence, including the DPS murder of Dion Johnson the same week the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd. Other protesters have called for the charges against the 18 (including a few who are teenagers) to be dropped and condemn the case as a blatant example of political persecution.

Protest in Phoenix against the police murder of Dion Johnson during May Uprising (Photo by Patrick Breen)

Kenosha, WI

Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage reactionary who shot and killed two protesters and injured another last August, failed to inform the court of his new residence since moving from his old Antioch, IL address after allegedly receiving death threats. Rittenhouse has been free from custody after his lawyers raised money, pandering to his far right supporters, to cover the $2 million bail set last November. Now the prosecution is asking for an additional $200,000 bail to be put on top of that. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty and the next pretrial court date is scheduled for March.

Meridian, MS

Dozens chanted, “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” outside the Meridian Police Department Thursday after news spread of another police murder that took place on Tuesday at the intersection 13th Street and 30th Avenue. The victim is still unknown.

“[The police] create their own story and don’t show no kind of evidence, so yes we’re tired of it, and we’re going to do something about it!” one protester told local ruling class media.

Waco, TX

Hundreds of Baylor University students protested this Wednesday after a group of Black students were racially profiled and had the police called on them as they were studying at the school’s library. A security guard approached the students in the early hours of January 28 and said that the library “wasn’t a basketball arena, it was a study area.” The guard then called the police after the students protested.

“This is a fight,” said one of the organizers at the rally on Wednesday. “There are 16,787 that are on this campus: every single one of us got the same acceptance letter, yet we don’t get the same level of acceptance once we get here.”

Photo by Rissa Shaw

Boston, MA

A Boston man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty this week to multiple charges of interfering with law enforcement during the May Uprisings. Police had profiled the man and his friends when his vehicle drove in front of a store that had been expropriated by the people during the uprising. Prosecutors claim that the man drove away but that a vehicle returned later and multiple shots were fired at officers. However, according to a judge who presided over the case in June, the police reports of the incident didn’t even specify that the shots were fired at the officers.

“The only thing that we know is that gunshots were heard, approximately 10 gunshots, coming from the area where that alleged vehicle was,” the judge said.

When the man was arrested, a firearm was found in his car, which he was prohibited from having due to pending charges in another case. This type of state persecution, where violation of a minor law is used to intimidate and scapegoat workers for bigger crimes when there’s no real proof, was already a common tactic by police prior to the May Uprisings but has become even more prevalent with the increasing reactionization of the US imperialist state and the political persecution of protesters.

May 31 in Boston, Photo by Blake Nissen

Lincoln, NE

A young woman sued the city of Lincoln as well as several of its agencies this week for serious facial injuries she suffered after police shot her at point blank range during the May Uprisings. She was attempting to help other injured protesters when the officer fired a ‘less-lethal’ round which almost took off her nose, which was only saved thanks to extensive surgery by doctors.

Photo by Gwyneth Roberts


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