Stories from the Streets: On the Front Lines of #BlackLivesMatter Protests
is week on democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure welcome DCP Entertainment producer Andrew Marshello and activist Allison Lane to hear their stories from the front lines of protests in New York City and Washington, D.C.
As demonstrations erupt around the U.S., threats to the safety of communities of color (as well as protesters) remain profound.
This week’s guests tell their wild, terrifying and inspiring tales from their run-ins with law enforcement.
What about next steps? Campaign Zero has come up with eight evidence-based reforms that can reduce police violence by 72%.
As we enter the second half of the longest year ever, our collective pain hit a tipping point.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and dozens more innocent Black folks sparked protests around the nation and the world. Even while we continue to live through a pandemic that disproportionately affects communities of color, demonstrations of activism and solidarity are everywhere. So are plenty of threats to our rights and safety.
“It's been a hell of a week since I last saw you, Danielle,” says Toure.
“The world is on fire,” she replies. “Yeah, things have changed a little bit.”
Well, not everything’s on fire. The protests are ongoing. They’re passionate. And they’re global.
They’re largely peaceful even though “the anger is palpable,” Toure adds. “It's tangible. I'm proud to march in the streets with people of all sorts: Black, white, Asian, Brown … I encourage people to go out and protest. It’s mostly safe. It will make you feel better. It definitely makes me feel better. But … there are dangerous moments.”
Why should we stop “taking a knee” (and asking cops to do the same?) What’s it like to be hit with a baton and arrested in Union Square? How did Trump’s Bible-brandishing publicity stunt lead to scores of protesters sheltering from cops in a D.C. home? And what do we want from police as we move forward?
This episode has everything.
Episode Highlights –– Police: Still Killing Us
A peaceful march interrupted by cops in ‘riot mode’
“I have been in the streets marching around Brooklyn for five straight days,” says Toure. “I've gotten this amazing, cathartic, exhilarating, feeling from being with thousands of like-minded angry people dreaming of a better future.”
“I had one moment Sunday night that was frightening,” he says. “Beyond that, it's been very peaceful and I'd been like, should I be bringing my kids to this? But Sunday … I saw the police go into riot mode. They attacked, unnecessarily and unprovoked, but for a few plastic water bottles thrown at them.”
He left just as it started to happen. “I kind of saw it coming,” he says. “But they flipped a switch, just 15 minutes after kneeling and holding hands with protest leaders. Which is why I'm like, fuck kneeling with cops.”
Especially in a moment when we’re protesting because a police officer killed a man with his knee, Toure adds, “Leaders who tell you to kneel with cops should not be trusted. And stop chanting at the cops to take a knee … It's a completely empty, meaningless gesture.”
Poison apples everywhere
Kneeling and hand-holding seems to be motivated by optics, says Danielle.
“Just a desire for a photo op … to do the ’not all cops’ narrative. We continue to hear things like, oh, there's just a few bad apples. And I keep wondering to myself: how many bad apples do you need before you realize that the entire orchard is poisoned?”
If we think the bad apples are isolated, it obscures the larger issues, which are systemic.
“It is a bigger problem than just former officers Chauvin and the three that turned their backs,” Danielle adds. “It’s about the police departments across this country, and the fact that we don't have any real vetting … Do you understand the awesome responsibility that you have to protect and serve all people, even those that do not look like you, do not speak like you, do not pray like you?”
Standoff in Union Square
Sunday night, DCP Entertainment producer Andrew Marshello was part of a large demonstration that began near the Barclays Center. The group marched over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan when the peaceful protest turned violent, thanks to New York’s finest.
The police formed a blockade, and the protesters erected barricades of their own. Andrew was with a friend and they positioned themselve