Twin Cities activists join nationwide day of protest against police violence

Toshira Garraway of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence.

The Twin Cities and cities across the nation, including Orlando, Spokane, Boston, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Las Vegas, took part in National Day of Protest Against Police Violence on Saturday. The protests were led by families who have been victimized by police violence. The protesters’ demands included: all “killer cops” be jailed, reopen all of the cases of officer-involved killings, and the end of the system of policing as we know it.

Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence led the spirited rally in St. Paul in front of the Governor’s Mansion.  There were a few hundred in attendance and several people spoke who have lost family members to police violence in Minnesota.

The mothers of Kobe Dimock Heisler, Demetrius Hill,  Jaffort Smith, and Hardell Sherell, who were all killed by police in Minnesota, took the mic and told of their struggles to get justice for their sons. Del Shea Perry told of her son Hardell Sherell who was left to die in a Beltrami County Jail.

Gabriel Black Elk of Native Lives Matter spoke on behalf of his brother Paul Castaway who was killed by police in Denver, Colorado, in 2015. He told the crows that it is encouraging to see their support. “We feel like we are all alone. It means a lot when people come out to marches and rallies. That makes us feel good,” said Black Elk.

Bayle Adod Gelle, the father of Dolal Idd, spoke of the pain of continuing the effort to get justice for his son.

Through tears, Tybetha Prosper told the story of her son Naajikhan Adonis Powell who she said had checked himself into a mental health ward at Hennepin County Healthcare last September. According to his mother, the police were called when he refused to take his medicine. He was taken to the Hennepin County jail where not long after arrival authorities said he was found hanging in his cell.

She questioned why he was taken to jail. “How do you take somebody from a mental health facility and take them to jail and not put them in a health unit in jail?’ said Prosper.

“There are hundreds of mothers that led up to George Floyd and Daunte Wright,” said Toshira Garraway of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence.

In Minneapolis on Saturday, several hundred gathered near Lake Street to protest the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by Chicago police on March 29.