At 2 pm on Aug. 15, New Haven residents and organizers gathered on the New Haven Green to demand justice for victims of police violence and murder in Connecticut and across the country. The event, the First Annual Unity Walk for Survivors of Police Violence, was called by Building It Together CT, People Against Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter New Haven and the CT Bail Fund.
Jewu Richardson of the CT Bail Fund spoke to the crowd, saying, “I’m asking the courts, I’m asking the police that are in office now, all of these people, to address the wrong that was done.” Other speakers included Malik Jones’s nephew Mike, wrongfully convicted and exonerated community member Darcus Henry and many other survivors of police terror and systemic injustice. Attendees listened as dozens of names of Connecticut victims of police violence were read.
The action then took over the street. The crowd chanted “Justice for Malik” as they marched through New Haven to the Grand Avenue site where Malik Jones was murdered by East Haven police in April of 1997. Officers had supposedly received an anonymous tip about a speeding driver, then chased Malik Jones in his vehicle. Unarmed, he was shot several times in his car at point blank range.
Party for Socialism and Liberation organizers provided support to the march as marshals, and PSL organizer Norman Clement helped to lead the march. At the site, those who knew Malik Jones recounted their memories of the loss, as the protest shut down a full block of Grand Avenue.
A close friend said, “His body was riddled with bullets, and he didn’t even have any weapons. He didn’t pose any threat. They chased him from East Haven all the way over here…. They chased him into another town and killed my boy, my childhood friend.”
Richardson spoke again at the site. He said “A lot of people, they’re in jail right now, suffering. They’re banging on their cells because they feel our energy […] We’re giving them a voice. We’re giving the people that got killed by the police, that are dead, that are no longer here with us, a voice. They’re talking through us.”
Emma Jones, a long time activist and mother of Malik Jones, met with the crowd and spoke. “It was Ku Klux Klan, lynching-style,” she said, “that Malik was gunned down, as he sat in a car on these grounds right here, boxed in and unarmed.”
New Haven organizers and community members have been demanding justice for Malik Jones for over 20 years. Despite the recent institution of a Civilian Review Board in New Haven, people are still struggling against waves of police violence in the city. At another recent protest, hosted by Citywide Youth Coalition outside New Haven mayor Justin Elicker’s house, youth organizers called the mayor out for refusing to defund the NHPD or remove armed cops from public schools, and for not taking decisive actions against racist police by relying instead on Internal Affairs.
The movement to shut down racist and violent police in Connecticut continues to grow with unity between all people impacted by police terror.