Militant Journalism

Syracuse shuts it down in protest of police terror

On Dec. 8, a large, militant action was held in Syracuse to protest police terror in the city and across the country. The event, which drew well over 250 people, was organized by students at Syracuse University associated with THE General Body. It was supported by several community groups, including the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and National Action Network.

The event started with a rally on the steps of Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University. From there, protesters marched to the university library. Once inside, they staged a die-in, lying on the ground for 4.5 minutes, to represent the 4.5 hours that Mike Brown’s body was left lifeless in the streets of Ferguson.

From there, they marched through the city streets into downtown. Marchers chanted “How to you spell racist? USA!” and “3,5,7,9, cops do the real crime!” They ended up in between the police station and the local jail, where they blocked an intersection. Participants sat down and continued chanting.

Next, Derek Ford, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, was invited to speak. Ford spoke about recent cases of police brutality, including that of Elijah Johnson, a 21-year-old college student who was beaten ruthlessly by local police over the summer. Ford told the crowd, “It’s not just a few bad apples. The entire system is rotten. And we ultimately have to get rid of that system.”

Ford then invited two community members and leaders up to speak. First, he called on Madeline Lopez. Lopez’s son was beaten and pistol-whipped by police in downtown Syracuse over the summer. Holding back tears, Lopez said, “No one deserves to be beaten.” Next, Ford invited Rev. Dexter, who is a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Rev. Dexter told the crowd how earlier this year he called the police to his house because there were intruders on his property. When the police arrived, however, they attacked him and his wife before arresting them.

Demonstrators then marched back to the university. Before disbanding, Rev. Dexter again addressed the crowd, inviting them to a forum the next day to be held at his church, which will focus on continuing the local struggle against police brutality. Anyone interested in joining that struggle should e-mail mail to [email protected].

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