By Dmitri Sans
Last Saturday, a small crowd gathered at the end of Pleasant Valley Rd. in southeast Austin, near where Austin police had ambushed and murdered Mike Ramos just six months prior.
A large banner was posted on the stone wall near the street to honor Mike Ramos and Garrett Foster, the fighter for Black lives who was killed in July by US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry after Perry drove his car into a protest march being held in solidarity with the ongoing rebellion in Portland, in honor of Ramos and the struggle for Black lives. Some members of the Mike Ramos Brigade, which formed after the killing of Mike Ramos, were present, however the event was organized by community members outside of the Brigade.
The crowd began to march up Pleasant Valley behind a banner that listed demands to prosecute Christopher Taylor and Mitchell Pieper, the police officers chiefly responsible for Mike Ramos’s death, to fire police chief Manley, and to charge Daniel Perry with Garrett Foster’s murder.
Protest Paparazzi Hospitalized
As the march made its way to the intersection with Riverside Drive, Protest Paparazzi and self proclaimed “journalist” Hiram Garcia interceded with the clear intention to disrupt the event and assault people. Garcia has been ostracized over the past few months as evidence of his relationship with police and reactionaries has surfaced.
Pictures and video from the event show Hiram taunting marchers, threatening the crowd with the extension pole for his camera, and aggressively shoving protesters smaller than him.
Garcia appears to instigate altercations frequently, which usually correspond with increased viewers of his livestreams. After harassing several protesters and refusing requests to leave, Garcia attacked a group of protesters who overwhelmed him in response, resulting in his hospitalization. Garcia proceeded to spin the situation online omitting his role in provoking violence from the group. The ruling class-owned media has repeated his spin on the events without reaching out to anyone else there. At one point, Garcia was overheard by a Tribune reporter calling someone to bring guns to confront the demonstration. Online, Garcia’s website has said the opposite, claiming he does not support “vigilante justice.” Garcia presents one face to his livestream audience and quite another off camera. Garcia’s passion play is how he he drives up donations and gains sympathy, nothing more. He is a profiteer, a provocateur, a reactionary, and a fake journalist.
The march continued to honor Mike Ramos and Garrett Foster despite Garcia’s harassment. One speaker at the end read a letter written by Garrett Foster’s sister before everyone dispersed. The forces of reaction cannot erase the memories of Garrett Foster and Mike Ramos, who live on in the hearts of the people in Austin and elsewhere.
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