Repression & Resistance: Week in Protest, January 22-28

Photo credit: Tacoma protests by David Ryder

“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.

Tacoma, WA

On Saturday, a police cruiser drove into a crowd at a downtown intersection, running over at least one person and injuring others. The next day protesters rallied at the same location to demand that the officer, who has not been identified, be fired. Fires were lit, windows were smashed, and a US flag was burned. A banner reading “Justice 4 Manny” was also seen, referencing Manuel Ellis, the Black man murdered by Tacoma Police last March.

Photo by David Ryder

New York City, NY

A march against police brutality clashed with officers on Tuesday when it arrived at the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The crowd was demanding consequences for officer Keith Cheng, who they condemned for previously assaulting protesters. Four protesters were arrested.

Portland, OR

Rocks were hurled at Immigration and Customs Enforcement as they emerged from a department building to confront a protest outside on Wednesday. A dumpster was set on fire and large fireworks were detonated. Protests at ICE facilities in Oregon have been ongoing since last year. At least one protester was arrested.

San Jose, CA

On Wednesday, over 100 tenants and activists blocked the Santa Clara County courthouse in San Jose to protest eviction proceedings being carried out during the economic and health crisis. Santa Clara County leads in evictions in the Bay Area region, throwing out 145 households last year after the lock downs started, despite eviction moratoriums. Protesters chanted “The court is closed,” and held signs reading “Stop Evictions, Save Lives!” Police arrested several protesters who locked arms in front of the courthouse doors to prevent entry.

Rochester, NY

The Rochester Police Department’s chain of command held a press conference Wednesday in an attempt to intimidate those who will protest the findings of the investigation into the police murder of Daniel Prude, which are expected to be released soon. Thousands rebelled in the city last summer after video was released showing police forcing a ‘spit bag’ over Prude’s head, causing him to suffocate to death. The protests went on for an entire week, forcing then-Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and his chain of command to resign.

Last year Rochester police used PepperBalls, flash bangs, and tear gas to repress the people’s outrage. This year, interim Police Chief Cynthia Herriott said if protesters stray from designated “Free Speech Areas” they would face arrest.

Philadelphia, PA

A new report from Philadelphia Controller’s Office released Wednesday, covering over 1,700 documents related to protests sparked by the May Uprising, blamed Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney, among other city leaders, for the most repressive response by police since the 1985 MOVE bombing.

“SWAT’s potential deployment to face the gathering crowds was unprecedented,” the report reads, “as all of the commanding officers interviewed were unable to recall an event since the 1985 MOVE bombing where either SWAT responded to issues of civil unrest or where CS gas was utilized in response to such incidents.”

The report discloses internal discussions among top city officials and reveals new details in well-documented instances of police brutality during the May Uprising, such as when officers kenneled hundreds of protesters in a ravine near I-676, flooding them with tear gas. According to the report, Outlaw watched the protesters choke on the gas from the safety of an SUV on the overpass above.

Kansas City, MO

A new bill was introduced in the Missouri State Senate this week that would allow property owners to use deadly force against protesters. The legislation follows another bill filed earlier this month that proposed felony charges for publicizing a police officer’s home address. These bills are only some of the dozens of bills filed this year in other states seeking to increase punishments and penalties for protesters.

Minneapolis, MN

The City of Minneapolis reached a settlement with 22-year-old Graciela Cisneros, who had sued the city after she was shot in the head with a “less-lethal” round on May 29, as she was walking home from a protest following the police killing of George Floyd. The City agreed to pay her $57,900 for her broken cheekbone and other damage to her face, requiring many stitches.

Pictured Graciela Cisneros

Kenosha, WI

On Wednesday, a man who allegedly assaulted a police officer during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake was indicted and is facing up to 15 years in prison. Court video showed a brick hitting a Kenosha officer in the head who was trying to evacuate a police vehicle, knocking him unconscious. The FBI assisted local authorities in making the arrest.

August 24 protest in Kenosha, photo by David Goldman

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