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Columbus protesters respond to Ferguson decision, demand change from Columbus police

A sensory overload had developed on the streets of Downtown Columbus Tuesday night in the name of Mike Brown and the Ferguson, Mo., uprising.

Lights from police cars flashed as the cruisers blocked then-busy Broad Street, Columbus protesters initiated their first Ferguson-influenced action hollering “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” or “No Justice, no peace! No racist police!”

The event was led by several organizers, beginning with some statements near the Franklin Park Amphitheater.

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson during the day in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 9. Brown was unarmed.

Wilson said Brown had been uncooperative after he suspected Brown had stole from a nearby convenience store. Brown was fatally shot by Wilson after an altercation between the two.

It was announced Monday that Wilson will not face criminal charges for his actions. He later told ABC that he wouldn’t have done anything different.

“I’m standing here today because, like many of you, I’m fed up,” said Rashida Davidson, a TransOhio activist.

Davidson told the crowd that even though many people were shocked at the lacking indictment, she was not surprised.

“We all know that this is a race issue,” she said in reply to the many passionate comments on the event’s Facebook page voicing that this happening wasn’t about race.

The participants shook off the 35º F cold to cheer.

Sparse yells already started at this point.  “F— the police!” spurted here and there from the outskirts of the crowd.

Timothy Singratsomboune, a fourth-year Ohio State student majoring in ethnic studies, took the megaphone and laid down the plans for the night before offering some statistics.

“Columbus, Ohio has the 2nd highest rate of killings by police in this country,” Singratsomboune shared. “We actually have more than ten times the rate of police killings than New York City, in all 5 boroughs combined.”

The point of the gathering was to deliver a letter to the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Columbus Police demanding for a functional, independently acting review board to keep an eye on the activity of the Columbus Police.

“We expect an answer by the end of the year … we expect an answer tonight, honestly,” he finished.

Marching from Franklin Park all the way to 738 E. Long St., which is about 1 ½ miles, the participants eventually took up the right lane of the road upon turning off of Broad Street onto Ohio Avenue and then eventually all of Long Street until convening at the Columbus DIvision of Police Internal Affairs Bureau.

The loaded road was littered with all sorts of signs illuminating the discontent of the people aimed against the police state in the U.S.

Traffic had been stopped or heavily slowed up and down Ohio Avenue and Long Street. Cars honked their horns and protesters cheered. Some vehicles stopped next to the marchers with their phones out and took videos while joining in the chants.

Along the residential areas, people stood outside their homes on patios and sidewalks to watch the march. Some even ran out of their doors to walk to the Bureau.

As the crowd settled into position on the closed-off part of the road in front of the Police Bureau, several police officers on horseback lined up around the protest. Though met with some negative shouts, the people were generally peaceful toward the presence.

At the ending location, another leader in the march, Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, a youth program director of the Ohio Student Association, asked everyone to join in a moment of silence.

The silence was enacted to pray for and appease the wishes of Mike Brown’s family, Sundiata said. The commander of the Columbus Police Department met with the crowd down on the sidewalk during this time.

As the megaphone floated to the other side of the protesters, OSU student Singratsomboune began his statement regarding the demands of the people to the Columbus Police.

“Justice has not been granted in the United States,” he exclaimed. “Darren Wilson, the killer of Michael Brown, will not even be taken to trial — let alone expected to answer for the death of an unarmed teenager.

“The people of Columbus cannot accept this,” he said.

Editor’s note: This audio clip contains explicit language.

Protesters made their agreement heard in the background.

“We often hear that there are bad police officers, but the majority of officers want to do the right thing,” he said into the megaphone. “If this is true, then surely the good police officers are demanding better of their bad colleagues.”

If the police are not making such demands, then they are betraying the people they claim to protect, he said.

The letter asks that the Columbus Division of Police release an official statement condemning the lack of an indictment for Darren Wilson, Singratsomboune said.

“Good police officers do not let bad police officers kill unarmed teenagers and walk away without a speedy and public trial as mentioned in the Constitution,” he told the gathering.

Singratsomboune said Columbus lacks an independent and functional civilian review board. The leaders find this negligent when compared to the amount of police killings in Columbus.

The protest demands that the Columbus Division of Police publicly advocate for a civilian board, with sensitivity to the long history of racial violence in the city, Singratsomboune said.

A wave of “Black Lives Matter!” swept across the protesters.

After Singratsomboune finished his statement he asked Cmdr. Jennifer Knight to come forward to receive the letter.

“The Columbus Division of Police —” Cmdr. Knight began, interrupted by shouts from the crowd unable to hear her.

“The Columbus Division of Police will have an opportunity to review this, all of our leaders within the division will take a look at your requests and demands and we’ll take a look at this letter and we’ll have an opportunity to review this and discuss some of these issues.”

She spoke through more complaints of her lacking volume.

“You have my personal guarantee that I will take this directly to my chief of police,” she said.

A random member of the crowd asked, “Do you support a civilian review board?” Followed by yells of, “Yes or no?”

“The issue of a civilian review board has been brought up several times, I am open to an opportunity to discuss —” she was cut off again by a “yes or no” chant.

Knight smiled — slightly taken back — and walked away from the megaphone back into the building.

A public forum where anyone could take the megaphone then opened up for a brief time until the crowd was dispersed.

Editor’s note: This audio clip contains explicit language.

The police had apparently given the protest a short amount of time before they would begin to bring order back to the streets, said Singratsomboune.

Some Columbus residents like Colin Cousins stayed on site, hoping for more of an action from the group — who rapidly evacuated the premises to return to their cars at Franklin Park.

“Everyone’s way too content with the current situation,” Cousins said, “no one wants to be that first person that actually steps out of line because all of the focus goes on them.”

“Somewhere the deceased are probably screaming because their voices can’t be heard right now — those people who were speaking were the voices for the deceased,” Cousins said.

“By us dispersing, we’re just letting go — this could have been that one moment that every revolution has, where the turning point flips and the people actually succeed,” he said.

 

8 comments

  1. When these protestors start putting their lives at risk and running TWOARDS danger, I’ll listen to what they have to say about police practices. Until then shut up and grow some balls.

  2. Not sure what you’re getting at jimbob I’ll care when they protest over someone that didn’t deserve to die by the police… Mike Brown attacked a police officer with enough force to stop a horse in its tracks and tried fought over Wilson’s gun if not for that I’d care… Thing is if I were permitted to carry a gun and a kid hanging with thugs committing crimes tried to steal my gun I’d shoot him hard to say I wasn’t in the situation but mostly I would have fired just as many times as it took for him to go down, white black Asian Mexican I don’t discriminate when it comes down to my life or yours. Point blank period! If these protesters want to get smart and do something productive look up the facts of the case NYTimes.com has every witnesses statement posted even Darren Wilson’s and all the fact except the autopsy report which you can easily find if you Google it also Mike Brown’s had an autopsy down by their own guy who concluded the same thing lol protest in someone else’s name Mike Brown was a bully who wanted to change his life but didn’t try hard enough!

  3. You are misgendering Rashida by using the wrong pronouns they are quite vocal that they do not use she/her pronouns please correct this and use the correct ones they/them/their.

  4. I’m a 49 year old black male Columbus resident. The verdict is in “no indictment ” . We have to respect the decision, my advise to you , if you have a issue with a officer file a compliant with the internal affairs, this is how you root out bad police officers. Secondly, stop going to court working out deals, if you are innocent go to a jury trail,make the prosecutor work for a conviction. Start using your start phones to record the bad apples, for the most part Columbus police are number one on my list.

  5. If you go by the evidence, the grand jury got it right . First off Mike’s dna should have never been on that officers gun, Secondly there’s know way that officer could have pulled Mike into his car, mike was 6’5 300 lbs. The officer gave chase , by blood evidence at the point mike stopped,they found Mike’s blood on the ground , as he came back at the officer from that point put yourself in the officer shoes. I’m angry and mad about this being a black man. Why.

  6. A few years ago my family came to Columbus to celebrate our buckeye being ranked #1 in the country and breaking a collegiate record. We had a domestic situation and the police came to our hotel and I went to jail for the weekend. The whole time the Columbus police were apologizing left and right for having to take me to jail while they drooled over my buckeye athlete!!! I wasn’t mad and told them they were DOING THEIR JOB!!! They allowed my child to take control of my car and pack up my hotel. This was a horrible experience (I had the ladies in jail laughing they will NEVER see my face again unless on the news for my buckeye’s accomplishments). Actually while I was in the “arrest” newspaper my child was in Dispatch..HOW IRONIC!!! hahaha Judge even said “Is her student athlete child here in court to tell what happened?” We could afford a great lawyer so Monday I was out and driving back to my hometown. My oldest daughter was stopped by our local police wearing her sibling’s buckeye hoodie(mistaken for black male robbery suspect). All these humiliating situations as a black FEMALE never made me want to attack police!!! They have a difficult job. All Mike Brown had to do WAS LISTEN AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS but then I (nor my daughter who was stopped in buckeye hoodie) didn’t have a guilty conscience from robbing/bulling a store clerk when police approached me…….

  7. @realfresh

    To clarify: these protesters have never had someone who has 70 lbs on them charge them and attempt to steal their gun. The don’t know What that officer went through. They instead look at their idealized version of the events where they know all the facts. Yes it turned out he was unarmed, but you can’t determine that when you’re being charged and have a Split second to react. All the officer knew was that the kid punched him in the fdace and tried to take his gun and then decided to charge him. Of course he is gonna react the way that he did, its totally justifiable when you see it as it is happening.

  8. I think the only thing that should come from Mike Brown’s death is a realization to the laws set in place to protect us and the measures that have to be used to uphold them. I think its time we start realizing as a community or as a whole that we need to respect the laws at hand and the people who are doing what it takes to keep those laws upheld. Secondly I hope people will learn the distinction between police brutality and justifiable means. Its not brutality when an officer commands you to stop trying to take his gun and warns you he’ll shoot if you continue, then you get shot dead (justified). If a cop tells you to put your hands up and they’re up but then still tazes you, police brutality. People need to wash out the idea in their head that just because you don’t have a weapon you cant be shot by a police officer this isn’t the movies, anyone who poses a threat to an officer can be shot and killed, thats just the way it is!

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