Protestors of all colors demand prosecution of Ferguson cop who killed Michael Brown

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All photos by Jesse Marx
By 6 p.m., the rain has dissipated. Hundreds of protestors are gathering outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Thursday to demand the prosecution of a white Ferguson, Missouri, cop named Darren Wilson. And as they do, a black security guard leaves his post and steps briefly outside.

"If I weren't working," he says, "I'd be out here, too."

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Mpls women head to Ferguson to protest, raise money


On August 9, Wilson shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, to death. The event has touched a nerve, not merely in the St. Louis suburbs. There's been an explosion of angry directed at the way black folks are treated by police, with plenty of examples to go around.

Video surfaced this week of St. Paul police arresting Chris Lollie for simply sitting in the skyway back in January. As he waits for his children to come out of school, he's questioned aggressively, then tased. Charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and obstructing the legal process followed, but were later dropped.

There's been some debate in the last couple weeks over whether whites can use the same protest gestures as blacks -- a notion that Mel Reeves, one of the event organizers, tries to dispel.

"This is not a black problem," he says. "This is a people problem." To be precise, a class problem.

Reeves expounds on this idea later as the rally gets rolling and he takes a mic to say the black community cannot change the system by itself. He looks out at people of all colors and ages who've come out in solidarity. White children hold signs and raise spare fists into the air to mimic their parents.

"Of course you're Michael Brown!" Reeves thunders. "You're a human being!"

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After the speeches, Reeves guides the crowd onto the street, marching west on Fifth Avenue. Drummers bang on big buckets. A gray-haired white man stands on the sidewalk with a surprised look on his face, and shrugs. "It's a complicated issue," he says.

Other onlookers weren't so ambivalent. They pulled out cell phones and began filming away. At a bus stop on Hennepin Avenue, a white woman in a purple blouse smiles and joins the chant.

What do we want?

Justice!

When do we want it?

Now!


"It's just gotta stop," she says, aside. "I don't want to be afraid of the cops." Down the street, a black man waives to the crowd, shouting "thank you" above the din.

The rally keeps moving thanks to organizers as well as two Minneapolis bike cops. They hold back motorists at Third Avenue while a woman jumps out of her car and hugs a protestor.

Through it all, police maintain a low profile -- watching from afar and talking often into their radios. As the rally reconvenes outside the Government Center, one of the bike cops pauses long enough to share his thoughts.

"Even though it's about us," he says, "we just want everybody to be safe."

For more photos, click through to the next page.



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63 comments
Derek Potts
Derek Potts

John Bunch is a fucking ignorant piece of shit excuse for a man

John Bunch
John Bunch

Historical ignorance is incredible. The Irish when they came to America were treated worse than black people. For instance, when a Southern plantation had to be cleared of swamp, the Irish were used. Black slaves were viewed as much too valuable to risk. The same when 500-pound hay bales were thrown down a hill onto barges. Irish men were used and many were maimed or killed. The plantation owners viewed them as expendable. The Irish also lost 40% of their total population from 1840 to 1880 in the Potato Famine. Jews lost maybe 25% in the Holocaust. Etc, etc. But they don't teach you that do they?

John Bunch
John Bunch

I read just yesterday that Haiti has 200,000 child slaves. And no ogre white men to blame either, as Haiti is 97% black (at least). Still waiting for the protests on that one.

Chris Dahlen
Chris Dahlen

I dislike that analogy. That hipster has some extreme white guilt he needs to deal with.

Jason Grinnell
Jason Grinnell

So would all these protesters call 911 if they needed police help?

Nicole Schumacher
Nicole Schumacher

Grant yes every human being contains some degree of prejudices and subjective assumptions.

Grant Yell
Grant Yell

Yep apparently everyone is racist. That's original.

Nicole Schumacher
Nicole Schumacher

Reverse racism does not exist. If a human is prejudice against another human for their race... They are racist. Simple as that. The race of either party being entirely irrelevant. A cultural structure of racisms currently does exist favoring white people over other people. This does not mean that other structural issues do not effect both parties. Out issues with police involve many things, culture of compliance, militarization, untreated PTSD, racism, sexism, power trips, inadequate training, limited options besides direct violence in addressing issues, and so on. One issue existing does not negate other issues. All around. Issues with police that affect every race does not disprove issues that are race related.

Kurt Vatland
Kurt Vatland

Word police, now that's a problem solver. Lol I suppose you live in a violent crime ridden neighborhood and blame everyone but yourself for it being that way so as to make people online believe you the plight of America, and slander someone as a racist if the don't agree with you.... Hate cops but are the word police, hiprocrcy.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

I swear I haven't seen more pompous, over priviliged, racist, sexist white guy bullshit in one place at one time in a long time.

Grant Yell
Grant Yell

Ahhhh attack of bleeding liberals!!

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Um, did you mean YOU'RE??? And did you mean AND? Put a proper sentence together so I can tear it apart with dignity.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Are you claiming reverse racism, Grant? Are you in some way or is society in some way in peril because that guy from Tosh.O didn't get enough coverage for you even though it is from a logical standpoint completely invalid an argument in this case? Your last sentence in your original post is racist and pretending it's not will get you nothing more than you are now, full of shit.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

You're right Grant. I mean, nits only something I read and discuss on a daily basis in my personal life because of my personal ties to the area. I don't have any idea what I'm talking about whatsoever. When over 80% of Detroit's population is black... I'm gonna have to say that yes, poor black folks....

Grant Yell
Grant Yell

Tasha, I'm always up for a good debate. But, please for the love of god look at facts instead of the race. Detroit sucks in general, and guess what, many races live there! Look at the corrupt politicians, and guess what.....they were black! Look at the problem in large instead of skin tones. Your arguments are laughable at best and I find it hard to take anyone serious that doesn't know the details behind their debate. Stating someone's skin tone doesn't make your points valid. It's just a cop out for not knowing what the hell you're talking about.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

It's sad and unjust when ANY innocent person is killed. The issue here is excessive force by police and the racial implications involved because by and large, it's black men who are being killed needlessly.

Terri McGinley
Terri McGinley

Clearly, Mr. Bunch is white. Otherwise he'd know it's just not that simple.

Grant Yell
Grant Yell

Hey Tasha, look at this link and tell me that whites are privileged. You are a sucker for media and we all know that innocent white people being killed don't make the news. But blacks will, because it's 'sad' and 'unjust'. http://www.innocentdown.org/

Grant Yell
Grant Yell

Oh Tasha, it's cute that you think this is an isolated case.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

Case of mistaken identity of a white guy versus (constant) police brutality and excessive force on unarmed black men. Not. The. Same. Thing.

Nicole Schumacher
Nicole Schumacher

Kurt the peace protesters did significantly more to stop the looters then the police did. Addressing cultural issues, expectations of compliance or excessive force used unnecessarily are important things.

Yoom Nguyen
Yoom Nguyen

What ever the concept was it totally flew over my head.

Yoom Nguyen
Yoom Nguyen

Why the hell would you guys post a picture of a little boy standing with a sign saying Fuck the Police behind him???? It's not cute.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Not one of these hot chicks wants your number BABE, it's unanimous. Gfy if you don't think that's rape culture. Back to your hole.

Kurt Vatland
Kurt Vatland

Nothing says your upset with your government like stealing tvs and air jordans n starting a fire is my point. Only happens when..... ya know. If i got shot it would be a non story and i dont let it make me a victim. Moreless allow my community to make that our emblem.

Sierra Fern Milker
Sierra Fern Milker

That is the perfect example of rape culture indeed. An innocent young man who had his whole life ahead of him was MURDERED by the police and you're making sexist jokes about the women at the rally. IT ISN'T FUNNY.

Sierra Fern Milker
Sierra Fern Milker

Oh so you go to a lot of protests and know this for a fact huh? YEAH RIGHT.

Navjot Singhl
Navjot Singhl

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Mike Jones
Mike Jones

You can't just turn the tables like racism is some mathematical equation. Your high school failed you if you think it's that simple. If in some fantasy world, 80% of our police were black, and 90% of traffic stops were against white people, and a black cop shot an unarmed white guy down in the street because he's walking towards him, then you might have an argument. But people would be outraged then, too.

Patty Borka-Jochim
Patty Borka-Jochim

Cause us whites don't care. If it doesn't happen to me it doesn't matter. It's not a liberal issue, its a humanitarian one.

John Steitz
John Steitz

Why oh why do I read the comments on articles like this? It's always a bunch of privileged white dudes who have no idea what it's like to be black in America minimizing their struggles with a bunch of ignorant sound byte bullshit.

Kurt Vatland
Kurt Vatland

Its fact. I just said when the table is turned its a non story. Which to me is racist.

John Bunch
John Bunch

Everyone who lives in this country is privileged. Stop kidding yourself.

John Bunch
John Bunch

Demanding the prosecution of someone is not how our system works. That would be mob rule.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

This comment is the height of privilege. So ignorant.

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

My broomstick hangs in my living room and my ugly ass? Yes. So ugly. *eyeroll*

John Bunch
John Bunch

If you fear the police more than criminals walking around at midnight, then you are a fool. And if you don't want to get shot by a cop, don't attack the police!

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Well then go do something about it fatboy instead of trying to distract from an unarmed black child that was shot by a cop.     You are seriously such an evil racist sack of shit. 

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