Activists demonstrated on Silver Springs Veterans Plaza Saturday afternoon to #ReclaimMLK and, in organizer Elsa Lakew’s words,
…to show our elected officials that we will not rest until police brutality, the unlawful targeting and killing of black people, and the dangerous biases in our flawed judicial system have been sufficiently addressed.
Many passersby joined in, holding signs and joining the “No Justice – No Peace!”, “Black Lives Matter”, and other chants led by the indefatigable Ms. Lakew.
Pulling together reports from the Washington Post (“The Blue Wall of Silence“, 2001, via ppsc.org) and Fatal Encounters (2013-2015 data from Maryland news and public information) MCCRC is compiling a growing list of Maryland police homicides of unarmed or otherwise questionably killed Marylanders. Activists read some of those 32 names on Saturday:
Among them is the 2011 Montgomery County case of Emmanuel Okutuga, which you can learn more about at projectforemmanuel.com.
Without closer investigation, we can not say whether every one of the cases listed here were avoidable or wrongful deaths. But we can still remember, and we can still ask questions. It appears to us that too many of these cases involve black victims, too many involve mentally ill victims, too many involve unarmed victims, too many involve a formulaic need to subdue a suspect no matter the cost, and too many involve the Prince George’s County and Baltimore police departments. And after all, even one death is one too many.
MCCRC advocates police and justice reforms at the state, national and local level, and dozens of passersby signed our petition adding their voices to a call for an end to racial profiling, real police accountability, and caution about police body cameras. The petition will be available online soon.