Fort Lauderdale citizens unite to protest police brutality: “Black lives matter”
By Lawrence Knight
In recent months the topic of police brutality and lack of indictments has dominated news headlines across America.
People have united all over the country in protest of excessive force used by police during arrest. Yes we know about the protests nationwide in opposition to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death Eric Garner. Garner’s last words before pas-sing were “I can’t breathe”.
Due to the extraordinary number of Black and Brown people as opposed to white from across America who are constantly stopped and interrogated by police without warrant has create unnecessary interactions, have result in beatings, arrests and deaths —young folk are taking to the streets.
One cannot forget the video footage of Eric Garner yelling, “I can’t breathe” 11 times while a police officer continued to choke him, resulting in his death and not think something is very wrong with our arresting procedures here in America. The acquittal of that same officer only con-firms that there is a problem.
The shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy, occurred on Nov. 22, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Two police officers, 26-year-old Timothy Loehmann and 46-year-old Frank Garmback, responded after receiving a police dispatch call describing a “young Black male” brandishing a gun at people in a city park. The officers reported that during the confrontation, Rice reached towards a gun in his waistband.
Loehmann fired two shots within two seconds of arriving on the scene, hitting Rice once in the torso. Rice’s “gun” was later found to be a toy air gun. Rice died on the day after the shooting.
In the aftermath of the shooting, it was reported that Loehmann, in his previous job as a policeman in Independence, Ohio, had been deemed an emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty.
The incident received national and international coverage, in part due to the time of its occurrence; the recent police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and the subsequent un-rest following the former incident had attracted public attention [from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
On Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, citizens of Fort Lauderdale united arm and arm to protest police brutality by shutting down roadways throughout downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I had participated in a protest in Miami and I wanted to do the same thing here in Fort Lauderdale,” said Verhonda Williams, an attorney who played a major role in organizing the event. “I couldn’t find anything online, so I decided to do something myself”.
So Verhonda begin to reach out to various individuals in and around the community to organize and get the word out that there would be a protest here in Fort Lauderdale. Hundreds of protestors participated in the event.
With the recent slayings of Black men across the U.S., pro-testers are out in large numbers to reinforce the theme “Black lives matter.”
“I’ve heard people say all lives matter and no one is disputing that fact. What we are saying is Our Lives Matter, too! I am disgusted by the injustice of the so-called judicial system,” stated Yolonda Reed.
In the vein of social unrest that was shown in the riots of Watts, Ca., Chicago, Ill. and Miami, Fla., a new protest fever is brewing. In the blood of a social media driven demonstrations, the driving force is still fueled by the blood of young warriors.
“Life is a contact sport and I made up in my mind that I know longer wanted to be just a fan. I owe everything that I am and what I’m trying to become to my people that have paid the ultimate price for the opportunities we have today. It’s not a fad or a ploy to be hip or relevant, it’s my duty as a Black man to bring attention to a problem that has long been a hindrance to the progression in our communities nationwide,” stated Broderick J. Henry.
Headlines from across the country shows the turmoil that is raging because of theses in-justices: Protesters Shut Down I-80, BART Station During 3rd Night Of Marching Over Police Brutality; Hundreds of protesters blocked Interstate 80 in Berkeley Monday night in the latest …; New York’s Grand Central will not block ‘die-in’ protests over police killings; NBA and NFL players join demonstrations against police violence Athletes protest with ‘I can’t breathe’; Protests Over Police Killings Turn Violent In Berkeley, Calif …; Chicago pastors lead protests over deaths by police in …; Religious leaders in several Chicago neighbor-hoods spearhead protests over the Ferguson and New York killings by police. .; Police clashed with protesters in California on the … NYC braced for more protests over police violence after West Coast …; California Protest Over Police Killing Decisions Turns Violent
The young folk of South Florida have put their foot-prints on the battlefield to bring attention and prayerfully an end to these killings and lack of indictments of the police across this country.
“I think the event had a big impact…even the police were helping. They held back traffic for protestors. This isn’t the end of it…we want to know the City’s position on possible body camera’s for police and we want the public to be able to access the recordings when there is reported brutality,” Williams said.