MCCRC joined with HandsUpCoalitionDC.com on Monday, January 26 for a Justice Monday Vigil at the Department of Justice — one of a series of weekly vigils HandsUp has been staging since last fall. Vigilers demanded:
- that federal charges be brought immediately against the officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice;
- that findings about these and similar cases be released, and,that federal charges be brought immediately against all officers who have acted unlawfully;
- an immediate end to DoJ funding of militarized policing, and
- that the Department of Justice reopen the Michael Brown case because of improper handling of the grand jury.
Just a few days before the vigil, news leaked from the Justice Department that no civil rights charges would be brought against Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. In a statement, HandsUpCoalitionDC’s Marsha Coleman-Adebayo said,
“We have waged a good fight since August 9th” … It was our Coalition staying here week in and week out, good weather and bad, with numbers growing every week that made them move so quickly. Still, at least we won’t have to wait for over 2 years—like Travon Martin’s family continues to wait for findings in the investigation into Travon’s killing by George Zimmerman in 2013. We smoked them out. Sadly, the DOJ decided in favor of killer cops. The families of John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and all the other victims around the country can let go of any illusions that DOJ is in their corner.”
While saying much the same at the vigil, Ms. Coleman-Adebayo also said the vigilers could claim a victory, in that at least the Department of Justice wasn’t dragging out the decision. But since the Department of Justice wouldn’t do it, Justice Vigilers did — staging an arrest of “Darren Wilson” for the cameras after Ms. Coleman-Adebayo’s initial remarks.
MCCRC’s Thomas Nephew read out a list of just 32 of the Marylanders who have died at the hands of police between 1991 and 2014 under questionable circumstances. He also explained MCCRC’s support for the “Coalition for Justice and Equality” police reform agenda.
One of the cases Nephew mentioned was that of Emmanuel Okutuga, killed by Montgomery County Police in Silver Spring in 2011. Emmanuel’s mother — referred to fondly as “Mama Emmanuel” by her fellow demonstrators — was on hand to urge police accountability.
What’s next for HandsUpCoalitionDC.com? Marsha Coleman-Adebayo says the next focus will be on the confirmation hearings of the nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch:
“The Hands Up Coalition DC will now take the fight to Congress. Mr. Holder had his chance to move the wheel of history toward justice, but was too timid, too polite, too weak. And the president was too intent on expressing his “Je Suis Charlie” to care about his own citizens dead and dying in the streets. What ever happened to “I am a man?” The president has to get Mr. Holder’s replacement through confirmation hearings. That will be the next battleground.
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Apologies for the lateness of this post (true posting date was 2/13/15, the post is backdated). I had some technical difficulties producing the videos.