Photo: Protesters demand justice for An’Twan Gilmore
In the early morning hours of Aug. 25, several officers of the notoriously racist Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department surrounded An’Twan Gilmore, a 27-year-old Black man. The cops startled him awake, and then police officer Enis Jevric fatally shot An’Twan 10 times when his car moved. An’Twan was of course shocked to wake up to find multiple police officers with guns drawn, and regardless of whether he attempted to flee or not the police have no right to serve as judge, jury and executioner.
While MPD released body-worn camera footage, most of the view is obstructed by a ballistic shield, providing no further clarity on what actually happened. An’Twan was the second of three people that MPD shot within a week, with one person shot just a few hours before and another person killed the week after.
Lashunna Grier, cousin of An’Twan, pointed out at a rally following his murder that the police officers who surrounded An’Twan’s car did not seek medical attention for An’Twan. While paramedics were at the scene before An’Twan was killed, the police clearly decided that their first course of action would be execution rather than medical care. Lashunna continued, noting that the officers saw “a Black man in a tinted out BMW” and immediately prepared for violence.
An’Twan’s death is part of the reign of police terror directed against Black America, which is especially intense in Washington, D.C. In the past few years, the MPD killed Marqueese Alston, Deon Kay, Raphael Briscoe, Terrence Sterling, D’Quan Young, and countless others. Hours after the shooting, D.C. Councilwoman Janeese Lewis-George contrasted the killing of An’Twan with the peaceful, negotiated arrest of the white suspect in the Library of Congress bomb threat. Police chose to kill a man sleeping in his car less than a week after choosing to peacefully negotiate with a man who claimed to have a bomb.
An’Twan’s family released demands including an independent investigation of the events of August 25 and convictions of the officers responsible. Community members are determined to keep up the fight to win these demands.