Repression and Resistance: Week in Protest, September 25-October 1

“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.

National

The past week has seen a blow back of reactionary violence against the movement for Black lives. In Albuquerque, a protest honoring Breonna Taylor was attacked by someone who drove through the group near the University of New Mexico. In Yorba Linda, California, a woman slammed her white car into two protesters at a similar demonstration last weekend. When arresting her, police had to form a line to keep the crowd from retaliating. In Charleston, South Carolina last weekend, two men were arrested for appearing to stalk a protest in solidarity with Louisville, with several weapons in their car including an assault rifle.

In a suburb outside of Detroit, Michigan, Michael Frederick, Jr. was arrested this week and charged with multiple felonies relating to his terrorizing of a Black family who had put a “Black Lives Matter” sign in their window. Starting the week of September 7, Frederick repeatedly visited the house at night, on separate occasions firing shots into the house, throwing a large rock through the window, slashing the tires of the family’s vehicle, and spray-painting a swastika on it.

This surge of reaction is likely being stirred by the rantings of Donald Trump in the lead up to the November election, but the attempts at intimidation have not discouraged the protests, which continue to rage.

Louisville, KY

The weekend following the grand jury verdict on the police murder of Breonna Taylor, protesters expressed their anger through actions of revolutionary violence against private property, smashing windows, spray-painting anti-police graffiti on buildings, and detonating a car by igniting a stash of fireworks inside. Louisville police arrested 25 over the course of the weekend.

One of the jurors involved in last week’s verdict sued on Monday to have the transcript of grand jury hearings released, and accused Attorney General Daniel Cameron of using the grand jury “as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for those decisions.” The grand jury had failed to indict any of the police officers responsible for barging into Breonna’s apartment and killing her.

Seattle, WA

Resisting orders to disperse, protesters in solidarity with Louisville clashed with police in Seattle, launching fireworks and rocks at officers, setting fires, and causing property damage. Police shot “less-lethal” grenades at the crowd in response and arrested 10.

New York City, NY

Protesters demanding people’s justice for Breonna Taylor took over the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend. 12 were later arrested as the protest moved through the Greenwich Village neighborhood.

Portland, OR

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters in Portland blocked an intersection near the Multnomah County Justice Center, and police retaliated by firing “less-lethal” grenades at the group. In response, police claimed they were hit by sling shots and ball bearings as well as other projectiles. Police also towed away a vehicle they found which contained protective equipment as well as paintball guns. Police made several arrests.

Ithaca, NY

Over the weekend in Ithaca, where protests have been taking to the streets all summer long, the US flag from the local police headquarters was taken down and set on fire before it was raised again.

Springfield, OR

Outside of Eugene this week, an organization named Black Unity, which came out of the May Uprisings, held a protest which attracted hundreds to commemorate the anniversary of the 1919 Elaine massacre. Reactionary counter protesters trailed the march through neighborhoods, and at one point one sprayed a protester with mace.

Just over 100 years ago, a gang of white supremacists in Elaine, Arkansas ambushed an organizing meeting of Black sharecroppers, shooting into the church. The sharecroppers returned fire and killed one of the white men. The local sheriff’s department organized white mobs, assisted by federal troops and the Ku Klux Klan, and reacted by going on a rampage, murdering hundreds of Black people. This took place during the “Red Summer” when racist violence wreaked havoc across the country, primarily out of fear that the Great October Socialist Revolution would lead to Black uprisings in the US.

The “Elaine Twelve” who were sentenced to death by all-white juries following the massacre.

Charlotte, NC

On October 1st, Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD released video from their arrest of Harold Easter, a man who died in police custody from a cocaine overdose on January 26, 2020, after he was arrested during a traffic stop.  The released video shows Harold begging for water in the interview room before he has a seizure and dies due to a lack of medical attention. 

The same police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott, Brently Vinson, was also involved in Harold Easter’s death.  The five officers who were responsible for Easter’s death resigned a few days before the video was released.  District Attorney Spencer B. Merriweather is not pressing criminal charges against the five officers whose negligence resulted in Easter’s death.

The same day the video was released, Kass Ottley of Seeking Justice CLT, a nonprofit that collaborates with CMPD, organized a protest for Harold Easter.  Roughly 60 protesters attended the march in uptown Charlotte.  Protesters were heard chanting, “One solution, revolution!” and “1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide, and war, 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great!”  No arrests were made.

Austin, TX

The Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt Pistol and Rifle Club organized a march this past weekend that included local groups like Peace in Austin (PIA) and Star Power Blac Kollective (SPBK), as well as organizations from Dallas like the Huey P. Newton Gun Club. Chants included “Fists up! Shoot back!” One organizer told Tribune that local politicians and the local NAACP representative had previously agreed to attend, but on the day of never showed up. PIA and SPBK led another march downtown which disrupted traffic the following day.

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