Cleveland, OH

Posted: November 6, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011


Activist Alesia Kirkman. Alesia is the mother of Angelo Miller who was killed by an off duty cop, March 2007. He was shot in the back while he had his hands up.

October 22nd rally and march in East Cleveland:

A group of 30 people gathered at noon, wearing black, ready to march and protest in front of the police station. Holding signs of loved ones killed by the police and a huge banner with “Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation” on it, people marched and shouted lots of chants, like ” We fired up, can’t take it no mo’ Police Brutality has got to go!”  East Cleveland is a poor, decaying inner suburb adjoining Cleveland. It is a city where 98% of the people are Black.

Although there haven’t been recent police killings, there have been constant harassment and brutality against the youth there. There is a fight to get rid of the red light speed cameras used to “keep people safe” from speeding cars when in fact they are also used as surveillance cameras. As a community activist said, “These cameras profile Black youth , target them and many times then go after them and arrest them for minor violations.”  So this year East Cleveland was the target for October 22nd.

Families who have lost loved ones spoke. The Wills family, whose son Guy Wills was killed in 2002 when a cop banged his head against a cement floor, spoke about how the protest must continue until we stop police brutality and murder. Alecia Kirkman, whose son Angelo Miller was shot in the back 7 times in 2007, spoke about how on the 911 tape the cop was saying, “put your hands up.” and Angelo said “sir my hands are up, ain’t got nothing”. Then the cop shot him in the back. She said, “they ruled it justified, that Angelo had tried to run the cop over, no if that were the case they would have shot out the front and back windshields.”

Al Porter, from Black on Black Crime, a community group based in East Cleveland, said,”Police try to put fear in the hearts of citizens and I don’t have to have fear no more. They have too many different police departments, the university police, the transit police, the sheriffs’ department, and more to turn it into a police state and I refuse to be part of a police state. We will continue to speak our minds and people should speak out too. I implore anyone in earshot to speak out also.”

A young Black woman spoke who had gotten a leaflet about it :”I haven’t lost anyone to police brutality but am here to support those who have to take a stand against police brutality and the criminalization of a generation. I want our children to have a chance and that the lives of people in East Cleveland matter.”

A youth from Oppressed People’s Nation, a grass roots community group, got on he bullhorn and said,  “The oppressed will not stay oppressed forever. We will stop police brutality.”

A distributor for Revolution newspaper read the statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on the Occasion of October 22,2011. People especially cheered when it came to denounce the mass incarceration of Black and Latino people and the slow genocide going on and the urgency to fight back. Someone said he liked it because it touched on all kinds of people, Blacks, immigrants, and more who are targeted by the police. He said the statement can really bring all the people together around the one cause, stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation.

Before people left, almost everyone had gotten a Revolution paper and one person bought BAsics and wanted to talk about it.

After the rally, several of us went into the Black community of Cleveland, agitated about the movement to stop Stop and Frisk in New York, the movement to stop mass incarceration and more. We got out lots of Revolution papers, introduced people to BAsics and got people signing up to be involved in building the movement for revolution.

As the sun was going down, a Black youth from Occupy Cleveland summed up the day this way: “You have to fight the police because they are not there to protect the people’s common will or to understand the situation when they come to your house, the only job for them is to take  you to jail. I think it’s capitalism and for Black people they love seein us in that fuckin cage. The protest against Black violence is a good cause.”

–Submitted by Cleveland October 22nd Coalition


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