Another March Against Police Brutality
For the second night this week, people took the streets of Atlanta in response to the police murder earlier this week of a 19 year old Joetavius Stafford at the Vine City MARTA station (this marked the 4th demonstration in less than a month with an explicitly anti-cop sentiment - including a press conference-turned demonstration yesterday whereby some 30 people stationed outside of a MARTA stop screaming "Cops, Pigs, Murderers").
The march was smaller then the large march earlier this week, which speaks to issues in promotion as well as the instensity of the cold front that had washed over the city. Roughly 50 people headed off from Troy Davis Park at 8:30pm chanting "Hey MARTA, You can't Hide, We charge you with Homicide." Immediately making its way up through the Five Point Station (which is the center hub of the entire transit system) and up toward Phillips Arena and Centennial Olympic Park which would be the easiest route to Vine City Station, the location of the execution.
The march, which took the street when possible, rolled up swiftly to the station, bucket drums thundering and voices cracking. Waiting for the protestors was a line of police officers, both APD and MARTA. Stepping on that sidewalk was their queue and they immediately began trying to herd us off of the station plaza, to no avail.
The local Copwatch-ers were prepared with cameras drawn to get the names and badge/assignement numbers of each of the officers - none of which would comply, a theme that would continue throughout the night.
After roughly 10 minutes of screaming down the police (and cursing in their faces - an experience that can never be taken from someone), the demonstrators resumed the march back up toward downtown, but not before a single person (using the "people's mic" associated with the general assemblies from #occupy Atlanta) offered a fiery speech to the police insisting that if things didn't change "shit would go down."
After a few blocks, the chanting stopped for a brief speak-out - where some recalled their rage, others privelege, and others expressed a new awakening toward policing that they are now prepared to fight. This march, and the other march this week, it should be noted, was not mearly an aggregation of the radical elements of Atlanta's activist community - many of these people were having their first political experience and others are now on their way out of liberalism.
Marching back now, the demonstrators come up the back street toward Five Points Station, which was lined, on the one side by people of color trying to catch a ride or some change, and police on the other side. This marked the beginning a growing existential intensity for the march as many protestors began banging loudly on their drums and new chants were developed from within the crowd.
From here, the marching rounded the station toward the front (which is now becoming the location to disrupt - this is the most busy MARTA station by far) where demonstrators would meet heavy police presence.
As police attempted to push back protestors who were prepared to file into the station, many formed a large wall with their backs toward the officers and their hands above their heads - just as Joetavius was when he was shot - screaming "Shot in the back/No excuse for that!" The pigs quickly backed off. For the next 15 minutes, the demonstrators would aggresively scream anti-cop slogans at the police all of which refused to identify themselves and some of which actively concealed their identities with masks.
During a break between chants one individual actively tore into each officer calling them each and individually a "fucking pig."
Another individual let out a short, perhaps a minute long, speech engaging the crowd. The speech begged the question: "does anyone feel safe around the police? does anyone not feel fear every time they see a police officer?" By this point, the demonstrators had, I maintain, fully internalized the severity of the murder as an offense which directly effected everyone.
The march made its way back, through the street, to the park where the participants de-briefed and arranged plans for future actions against the police and the institutions they protect.
"No Justice/No Peace/Fuck the police"
"No cops/No KKK/No racist USA"
"Hey Marta/You can't hide/We charge you with homicide"
"Hey pigs/What do you say/How many kids did you kill today?"
"Fuck the pigs/We don't need 'em/What we want is total freedom"
"Shot in the back:/No excuse for that"