On the evening of June 23, the Saturday before the main LGBTQ Pride event in the Twin Cities, cops from the Minneapolis Police Department shot dead Thurman “Junior” Blevins, a Black resident of northern Minneapolis. Eye witnesses say the cops gunned Blevins down as he fled.
Beginning immediately that evening and continuing over the next 24 hours, a large coalition of local community and activist groups including Black Lives Matter, Native Lives Matter, Communities United Against Police Brutality and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar organized multiple emergency protest actions to demand justice and accountability for this most recent brutal act of police violence, to refute the misleading police propaganda that had already been circulated in the local corporate media about the killing, and to rebuke the mealy-mouthed platitudes of Minneapolis’s Democratic mayor Jacob Frey and the police chief.
Liberation News in Minnesota covered a protest carried out in front of the Minneapolis 4th Precinct building in the afternoon and a vigil and rally in the Blevin’s neighborhood later that evening. At the police precinct, members of Blevins’ family as well as representatives from several organizations spoke on the need to hold the killer, racist cops of the MPD accountable. The protesters exposed the bankruptcy of “official” “investigations” into police atrocities and demanded an investigation by forces independent of the bureaucracies of both the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. The role of the corporate media in promoting police propaganda was also exposed; reports that Blevins had been armed (which would not have been a crime and could not have justified the slaughter of a fleeing man at any rate) were refuted by eye witnesses. An attempted press conference between the local police chief and members of the corporate media was shut down by demonstrators when it was attempted. Police claims to “protect and serve” the people were denounced as a fraud. Some speakers agitated for new, independent forms of community self-defense in light of endless cop violence. By the end of the event, the 4th precinct had closed its doors and shut down business for the day.
At the vigil later in the evening, intense anger and grief combined with radical determination to transform the racist, white supremacist system under which the oppressed communities of Minneapolis suffer. Mayor Frey and a retinue of plainclothes police bodyguards attempted to quietly attend this event, but slunk away followed by jeers when it was pointed out that Frey had posted the cops’ untrue (and irrelevant) claim that Blevins was armed on his personal Twitter very soon after the killing.
Later in the evening, speakers explicitly named the capitalist economic system as a source of misery for oppressed communities, quoting Malcolm X: “You can’t have capitalism without racism,” a line which was received with applause. At the end of the night, the organizers urged all attending demonstrators to take care of each other and to continue agitating for radical social change.
All progressive and revolutionary people should salute the work of organizers and activists in fighting back against racist police violence in Minneapolis and throughout the country. No Justice, No Peace! Prosecute the Police!