Protest part of national day of action against police violence
As part of a National Mass Action Against Stolen Lives, about 200 people showed up at Governor Tim Walz’s residence in St. Paul on Saturday afternoon. Organized by Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, the rally advanced three demands: justice for George Floyd, jailing of killer cops, and for all of the cases of police violence—especially leading to death—to be reopened and prosecuted.
Nearly 20 cities took part in the nationally coordinated effort seeking to bring attention to families who have lost loved ones to police violence.
“We know in our hearts that we are out here fighting for what we know is right,” said Toshira Garraway, organizer of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “George Floyd is the face of police violence for hundreds of families in Minnesota and thousands of families nationwide.”
When asked what justice means to her, Garraway said that “justice for us means police are held accountable for their actions.”
She continued, “The governor called for $35 million to protect a building, but they stole something from us that we can never get back. They [police] have stolen lives,” Garraway said at the rally.
“They [victims of police violence] are names to you all, but to us, they are people who came home to us, who ate dinner with us. It’s our hope George Floyd gets something that we never got, “ she said. “I was afraid for years to come forward with my story, but I had to speak out. Everybody that died at the hands of the police deserved to live. We all deserve to live.”
Garraway’s fiancé Justin Teigen was brutally beaten to death and thrown in a dumpster by St. Paul police 11 years ago.
“It’s a shame they are putting all of this money into securing buildings but won’t put money in our communities,” said Cortez Rice, a close friend of Floyd.
“I’m a White guy that used to sit on my couch,” said Don Williams the grandfather of Brian Quinones who was killed by Richfield and Edina police in September of 2019. “Every time I see somebody get shot by the police, I know there will be another family that will be lied to and treated like they are less than human. They are going to watch the news and get police propaganda crammed down their throat, and hear them call their loved one a criminal,” said Williams.
Matilda Smith, the mother of Jaffort Smith, who was killed by St. Paul police in 2016, took the mic and told the crowd, “You don’t get over this. You don’t come back to normalcy; there is no normalcy.” She said she has been fighting for justice for her son for over five years.
Amity Dimock, mother of Kobe Dimock-Heisler, and Paul Johnson, a friend of Travis Jordan, spoke about police killing their loved ones who were struggling with mental health issues at the time of their death. Jordan, who is White, was killed by Minneapolis police in November of 2018 after having suffered some kind of mental health episode. Police shot him and handcuffed him before rendering aid. In the police camera video of the incident, the police who shot him continued to refer to him as “buddy” as they encouraged him to hang on.
Dimock-Heisler was killed by Brooklyn Center police in 2019 after experiencing a mental health crisis. Police were called and they eventually shot and killed him in front of family members.
Several other community activists spoke at the gathering, including Jaylani Hussein executive director of MN CAIR, Angela Rose Myers, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Mel Reeves, and Touissant Morrison..