Press Release About #DCFerguson Demonstrations


Ed. Note: Just after 8:45am DC Alerts emailed:

“DDOT reports protesters at 14th and D St, SW. 14th St is blocked in both directions at D. The 14th Street bridge is affected by the closure. Please use an alternate route to avoid delays.” and at 9am “DDOT reports the 14th St Bridge is now open. MPD reports protesters are on Independence Ave, SW and there will be rolling closures.”

From a press release:

“In the wake of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson the proliferation of protest actions around the D.C. Metropolitan area and the nation only underscore the need for actual solutions to the myriad of abuses perpetrated by police departments across the country.

On Monday November 24th hundreds, led by Howard University students, demonstrated from U St to the Supreme Court demanding justice. On Tuesday, in the first of three #DCFerguson actions, thousands shut down major downtown commercial areas and the entrance to 395. On Black Friday #DCFerguson joined with hundreds of others in front of the H St. NW Wal-Mart making the connection between low wage work and the criminal justice system. On Saturday #DCFerguson once again shutdown major shopping areas in Georgetown with hundreds of demonstrations. On Sunday an independent group of protestors conducted a die-in shutting down portions of I-395.

The clear takeaway from the proliferation of actions conducted by #DCFerguson and others is that despite the onset of cold weather and efforts by authorities to dampen protests by raising the specter of potential danger, the movement continues to grow. The time is now for serious action on the local, state and federal level. The militarization of the police in both weapons and tactics should end now. Structures accountable to the community should be put in place. Ultimately there needs to be serious actions that address the poverty and inequality that lie at the root of today’s racially and class biased criminal justice policies.
We plan to continue our efforts to end policies like “jump-outs” in the District as well as continuing to demand changes on a national level.

The original #DCFerguson Call to Action explains: “Residents of the District of Columbia, just like millions around the country recognize that at the root of Ferguson are the social, racial and economic injustices that exist nationwide. They know that Ferguson could really be anywhere and Michael Brown could be any young Black male. According to a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours a Black person is killed by a police officer, security, or vigilante in the United States. There is almost complete impunity for the perpetrators of most of these crimes. The political marginalization and racialized poverty that exist in Ferguson are replicated in communities across the country.

“The murder of Michael Brown and the situation in Ferguson can and should be a turning point. Where we finally come to terms with the root causes of these issues and address social deprivation and oppression and the police brutality that comes with it.”

The #DCFerguson coalition was initiated by the National Black United Front, ANSWER Coalition, WE ACT Radio as well as organizers affiliated with ONE DC and of no particular affiliation. Our central organizing core is made up of Eugene Puryear, Marybeth Onyeukwu, Salim Adofo, Yasmina Mrabet, Kenny Nero Jr., and a representative of We Act Radio.

41 Comment

  • I don’t agree with the protest, but understand some peoples desire to. However, using “Michael Brown” as your rally cry, a man who was filmed minutes before being shot, beating and robbing a nearby store clerk just doesn’t seem like the best of ideas.

    Also, no one disputes anyone’s right to protest peacefully, but illegally shutting down an interstate, holding up tens of thousands of people from getting to their jobs in the morning is neither “peaceful”, “legal”, or “smart” if you are trying to win people to your cause. The folks at DC Ferguson have undoubtedly alienated countless people who might have otherwise been drawn to their cause.

    • Or it helps the rest of us compassionate folks weed out the people who are more concerned about an extra 30 minutes of traffic than the lives taken by police brutality ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • Exactly. The people yelling that shutting down highways is illegal and alienating people were the ones saying the same thing about the same protest tactics in the 50’s and 60’s. These people feeling “alienated” are ones that will never open their hearts and minds up to selfless acts for justice. Just as NJNP said it’s about weeding out the folks who are compassionate enough to step out in to the streets after witnessing acts such as this.

    • So you’re against the tactics used by civil rights protesters in the 60s, correct? You’d have sided with Bull Connor?

      • ah

        The ~30 protestors today couldn’t hold the jockstrap of the hundreds or thousands of civil rights marchers in the 1960s, who notably didn’t stage their protests during rush hour on busy commuter routes or attempt to block traffic.

    • Danny,

      Would you have argued that Crispus Attucks and the victims of the Boston Massacre weren’t the people to use for a rallying cry by colonialists because they were defying colonial law and colonial authorities when they were shot? Hogwash. The problem in both cases is murderous overreach by the state, killing unarmed people is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      I pay tax dollars for police officers to be trained and competent enough to arrest unarmed 18 year olds without shooting them. Officers who can’t do that don’t need to be police officers. I mean, if you can get beat up by somebody fresh out of high school, as Wilson alleges happened, you’re WAY too soft to be a police officer. Be a schoolteacher or a mattress tester or something.

      • Alan, I am not sure what relevance a man who died ~240 years ago, 7 years before the United States was formed, brings to the current situation.

        ” I mean, if you can get beat up by somebody fresh out of high school, as Wilson alleges happened, you’re WAY too soft to be a police office”

        This 18 year old was what…6’4 and 300 lbs. It isn’t like we are talking about a child. You just eliminated just about every woman on every police force in the US, and most men as “way too soft”.

        As for the “tax dollars” you pay, you don’t pay enough for police officers to be trained psychologists with Chuck Norris skills. You seem to think every police officer should be or is some ex Navy Seal, but the starting salary for a police officer in Ferguson is a shade under 30K a year (50K a year here in DC), so your expectations are a bit “unrealistic”.

    • Danny + 10

      NJNP, folks are just now getting to the office, nearly 2 hours later than usual, so it just wasn’t 30 minutes. You want folks compassion? Ok, don’t unexpectedly force them to get their kids to school 1.5 hours late, and to work two hours late, especially when they get paid by the hour.

      • The protest street blockade was at 14th & D *SW* – who the heck is traveling through there taking their kid to school? There aren’t any schools anywhere near there….

        • Traffic in the district is sensitive. Blockading one intersection will ripple for multiple blocks. This isn’t surprising.

        • They were taking their kid to their school on Cap Hill.

          That little stunt brought traffic to a complete standstill all the way across the river, onto 395 over by the Pentagon City Mall. It takes quite a bit of time to get all that traffic clear.

  • This really is becoming the Benghazi of the Left. A tragedy that is being exploited by people who have a political agenda and will ignore evidence that doesn’t suit a biased perspective.

    A commentator made a point the point that 4 people were shot this weekend through probable gang violence, but there is no protest over that. Black lives should matter in all cases, not just ones where it is a white cop dealing with a situation.

    • Agreed. If protesters want focus on the problem of how/why Blacks are treated differently from other ethnicity in the eyes of police / justice, I think that is a great thing to talk about, but let’s remove the discussion from Mike Brown, because Mike Brown is a controversial example. The facts are very, very blurry, and once you bring up Mike Brown, people are just going to focus and argue on that ‘truth’ rather than discussing the bigger picture……….If protesters want to talk about the failures of ‘community policing’, and the business of selling prisons, vehicles, guns, pensions, etc. – lets talk!

  • I think legislators in every locality where protests are happening need to sit down and work with them to re-work how police officers interact with the public. Tear gas needs to be banned as a crowd control method. Heavy military equipment like tanks, etc, need to never be used against peaceful protesters. Arrest quotas need to be tossed aside, so police interact with the public in a way that isn’t influenced by the need to arrest a certain number of people per week. Lastly police policy needs to be revised so that police officers are encouraged to not confront suspects alone unless imminent danger to themselves or other citizens are present. Wilson *clearly* couldn’t handle Brown on his own, that’s his alleged motivation for shooting him to death. More officers equals increased opportunity to apprehend an unarmed suspect without resorting to gunning him/her down.

    • Yeah, except the original reason for Michael Brown’s attack was when Wilson just asked the guy to move out of the middle of the street. Are you suggesting that police officers need two or more people to ask someone to obey the law because a single officer might find himself attacked and unable to defend himself with lethal force? It all sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t make sense in reality.

      • Wilson called for backup. All he had to do was sit in his car and wait for it to arrive. He decided to play super-cop and roll up to confront Brown on his own, when he apparently was too weak to fight a kid fresh out of high school. It was a clown move. He clearly needed help and he should have waited for it.

        • Sorry, he was not playing super cop. He was doing his job. It would have been racist for officer Wilson to think he could not stop Michael Brown because they were different races

        • Alan, come on now- you either think I’m stupid or you’re being obstinate. Michael Brown was not an innocent and weak “kid fresh out of high school.” He was a 300 pound man- old enough (but not fit enough) to serve in the military, etc. Wilson tried to do his job, but didn’t count on this high-as-a-kite 18 year-old to actually fight and try to disarm him. As a smaller woman, even I would count on being shot if I tried to disarm a police officer. That’s the kind of stuff you just don’t do unless you have a death wish or extremely poor decision making skills.

          • Point of order: we dont actually know that he tried to take the gun.

            I get as frustrated with the people who mindlessly jump to the defense of the cop as I do with the protesters.

            Whats so hard about saying “holy shit thats really tragic, but we dont have enough information to take an informed stance on who is right and who is wrong?” Why does everyone have to pretend like they know the facts and then dig their heels in.

            We just dont know.

          • Good point. What we do know, however, is Brown was high on mary jane, and he had gunshot residue on his fingers (you get that when you shoot a gun). A gun was fired twice within the car. That to me says it is highly likely he fired the officer’s gun while attacking him in the car. You don’t get GSR on your fingers when you’re the victim of a shooting…

          • I just want to say that between the narrative of Brown being a felon under the influence who would have lived had he simply followed instructions and Wilson being a racist who murdered an honor student who was surrendering, there’s a lot of grey. A LOT of grey. People hate grey because they like sticking to a simple narrative that lets them feel right. The reality is that there are things that both men did that allowed that situation to happen. The only way the gun came out of the holster was because Darren Wilson wanted it to. Triple retention holsters are hard to draw from if you’re not wearing it, especially while seated.

          • The facts are your friend. Brown just graduated high school.

            That’s actually a fact.

            Wilson wasn’t a smaller woman, so you talking about being a smaller woman has nothing to do with this discussion.


          • Witness testimony is split on whether Brown struggled for the gun and his prints weren’t on the gun. I say the absence of fingerprints seals the deal. He wasn’t wearing gloves. No prints on the gun = Wilson lied.

        • Accountering

          Police officers should not be sitting in their car to wait for back-up to deal with one individual suspect. Police officers should be doing their jobs, and that means stopping crime from happening.

          • Sure they should, if they’re incapable of dealing with the suspect on their own. It’s called common sense and knowing your limitations.

      • The short of the long is that Michael Brown was a bad ass kid, thug maybe and Darren Wilson was an inexperienced cop that was way in over his head and could not control the situation which went from bad to death. I think it could have been handled differently of course but the real issue is the process which took place which caused the no bill thus negating the need for a trial.

        • You can complain about the process, which I get, but do you really think he would have been convicted in a trial, where the state has an even higher standard to get a guilty verdict? Look at how many discrepancies there are among the witness testimony – that alone would be enough for any lawyer to give a jury reasonable doubt and get a not guilty verdict. The reality is that this was a crappy situation all around, and that the DA probably shouldn’t have used the grand jury and just filed charges, but the final outcome would have almost certainly been the same. Like it or not, when you get into a physical altercation with a cop, and multiple witnesses give conflicting accounts, the cop isn’t getting convicted. White, black, doesn’t matter.

          • +1 While I strongly believe that the law says in writing and in practice that Wilson should should have been indicted and a trial should have taken place, I think it’s almost certain that he wouldn’t have been convicted. Maybe it was for the greater good that a trial didn’t take place, stretching on for months or years and allowing the anger in the hearts of protesters to boil and grow.

          • While the outcome may have been the same, that is FAR from the point and I think you know it.

          • The DA is also the biggest financial contributor to one of the Darren Wilson funds and almost his entire family is in Ferguson government or the PD. Botched from the start. Given the grey areas and such there is no way this should not have gone to trial where it could be sorted out…not a grand jury that was allowed to see evidence that wouldnt have been allowed in a trial.

  • Who is this press release from — the protest organizers?
    Maybe it’s a Monday/need-caffeine thing, but when I started reading it I thought it was from MPD.

  • Everyone has the right to protest, but this nonsense is disrespectful, illegal, and potentially dangerous (preventing passage on roadways means ambulances and other people with emergencies can’t get through quickly). I have a feeling the protestors don’t understand that what they’re doing is working against their own interests by angering people and effectively hardening them to their arguments.
    If these kids are going to be running up and down 295 or stopping traffic elsewhere in the city, we ought to start instituting some large fines or jail time. Send the message in a big way so it discourages this activity. If you want to be part of society, get a permit to protest just like every other group/org/special interest. Innocent working folks shouldn’t be held captive and have their lives disrupted needlessly by vocal and angry small groups of people.

    • “Everyone has the right to protest” blah blah “if they do it in a way that doesn’t inconvenience me”

      Sorry, pal, but that’s not how nonviolent direct action works.

      • No. Everyone certainly has the right to protest, but your rights end when you endanger others (such as the famous “fire in a theatre” analogy). I’m a hardcore libertarian and will tell you that point blank. It’s not about inconveniencing people, but a car might not be able to slow down because you came up in a blind spot and kill you, leaving the driver with permanent psychological damange or even potential manslaughter. If an ambulance can’t get past or has to slow down because of a human chain and that delays getting someone immediate treatment, you’re liable.

        • If someone dies because the ambulance can’t get through they can always blame Chris Christie.

          Seriously though, linking this to the civil disobedience of the 60’s is a stretch. What does Wal Mart have to do with Michael Brown? These people may have all the time in the world to protest, but many others have jobs. You want to protest at the Capitol, the Supreme Court, City Hall, MPD that’s fine. But to have one of the organizers on TV saying “we will disrupt everyone’s lives until we get what we want” is basically a temper tantrum. Stretching across 395 is a danger to them and the people who will have to avoid them. Holding up a Metro by blocking the door can damage it.

    • How is non-violent civil disobedience working against their cause? “Well I was on the fence about the law enforcement’s violent abusive treatment of poor and minority citizens, but now that it took me an extra hour to get back from Target on Sunday, I’m all for it.” Looks like you would feel more comfortable in Putin’s Russia than the United States.

  • With every new cause de jour, the shrill hyperbole becomes closer and closer to a parody. The truth is no one doing any of this protesting knows what happened.

    Really bad things happen. There is racism. Just because bad things happen when one guy is white and in a position of power and the other guy is black and part of a social class of systemically oppressed does not mean that the bad thing is a result of racism.

    Did anyone stop to think that maybe the system that they’re rebelling against actually worked and it saved a man who was acting in self-defense from going to jail?

    And, since the system is so stacked in favor of white cops, anyone paying attention to the case where a white cop in south carolina shot a black guy at a gas station because he got antsy? He’s almost certainly going to jail. System worked there too.

    Just because you sometimes dont like the results of the system we have, doesnt mean its not working. It just means you dont like it.

  • “Michael Brown could be any young black male”? Before or after he assaulted and robbed a hard working store owner? Before or after he was arrogantly walking down the middle of the street? Before or after he assaulted a police officer and grabbed for his gun? I don’t think Michael Brown could be any young black male. I have too much respect for men of all races to believe that statement.

  • To everyone getting their jockeys in a twist about being inconvenienced by the protestors-have you been paying attention to the allegations of police brutality at all before now? Or did you just shrug it off because it involved “those people” and you thought they “probably did something to deserve it anyway?” Perhaps you could open your minds to the idea that the protestors have availed themselves of every means of protest that you would consider legitimate already-and gotten nowhere. They can’t count on the police or the courts to protect them. They can’t count on the media to report what’s happening without slanting it heavily in favor of the police and against them. This is what happens when an entire race of people are ignored, marginalized, shouted down and have their rights trampled. Eventually they have enough of the mistreatment and have to demand change, because no one is going to just give it to them.

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