More than a thousand people participated in the National Mother’s March and Weekend Against Police Violence by marching to the Minnesota State Capitol on Sunday. Those demonstrators included the family members of more than 100 victims of police violence who had come from all over the country to join the protest in St. Paul.
CBS Minnesota reports that a number of family members of citizens who lost their lives at the hands of police officers spoke at the event. Those speakers included Ashley Quinones whose husband, 30-year-old Brian Quinones, was fatally shot by police officers last September when he exited his car holding a knife after leading police in a chase which he live-streamed from inside his car.
“It’s the crappiest club that you could ever be a part of, but it’s the most needed club to be a part of,” Ashley said during the march. “We are tired of not getting the justice our families deserve.”
Some of the protesters were calling for their loved ones’ cases to be reopened after the cops who killed them weren’t charged.
“Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. It’s systemically happening and it needs to stop,” Tawanda Jones, who came from Baltimore to speak on behalf of her brother Tyrone West, said. “I could go on all day and wouldn’t have enough breath in my body to call out every victim’s name.”
An autopsy on West concluded that he died of “cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac conduction system abnormality, complicated by dehydration” after a fight with police officers in 2013.
“Ten officers on one unarmed man equals murder, and that’s what they did,” Jones said at the time. Of course, prosecutors didn’t see it that way and declined to file charges.
According to CBS, former NBA player Royce White attended the march with members of the non-profit organization 10K Foundation which has organized several marches in Minnesota since the death of George Floyd.
“To be able to meet these people [who lost loved ones to police violence] in person in one place and share that energy and spirit of loss, but also strength, is invaluable to me,” White said.
City Pages reports one of the first speakers at the event was Lisa Simpson whose 18-year-old son, Richard Risher, was killed by Los Angeles police officers in 2016. Risher ran from officers who had approached a group of people hanging outside a Watts public housing building. Officers reportedly chased Risher on foot and fired over 60 rounds at him and hit him twice killing him at the scene.
Simpson also introduced other family members who came to speak...and there were many.
From City Pages:
Also from L.A. was Dionne Smith-Downs, mother of James Rivera — an unarmed 16-year-old killed by officers who fired 29 rounds into the stolen van he was driving — and Valerie Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera — shot by LAPD and run over by an uncontrolled patrol car because he had a toy gun. From St. Louis there was Toni Taylor, mother of Cary Ball Jr., shot 21 times as he ran from police.
The list went on and on. Families from New York, from St. Louis, from Columbus, from Valero. A large group from Atlanta. Family members of police murder victims who made international news — Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile — were in attendance, but there were a great deal more whose deaths never received widespread attention.
“Sorry, I have been encouraged to speed this up a little so people can’t miss their flights,” Simpson eventually said before handing the microphone to another speaker. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to call everybody’s name.”