Police incite violence
I arrived at Telegraph & Bancroft early and marveled at the beauty of the square filling up almost instantly like the fast-forward filming of a flower blooming. One minute there was me, then three or four folks walked over to stand close to me, then it was a complete circle of people, rows multiplying to suddenly expand to 5 or 10 deep.
We cheered & chanted, heard the protect yourself/each other NLG cautions, and then a womon alumni from UCB stepped forward to lead us, and we chanted & sang a little more before we started marching down Telegraph ave.
I was tired, after marching over 6 miles the day before – plus all the mile accumulations of marching these past 2 weeks – so I’d planned just to begin, hand out Free Marissa flyers, and then head home when we passed close to my house.
The energy was so righteous and lively, the protestors so determined, I decided to go right when the march turned off Telegraph and continuing protesting, instead of turning left the couple blocks to my home.
Although I often walk down Derby, I’d never marched down Derby to Shattuck with a zillion folks! We proceeded to take over Shattuck the same way we had just taken over Telegraph Ave.
As I marched and chanted and sang and talked with companeras/companeros, my plans of going home dissipated more and more with each step.
By the time we reached downtown Berkeley, our numbers had swelled to over 500. We gathered at the intersection of Shattuck and Allston, again for many minutes while we chanted, people spoke, made music, died-in, and decided what to do next.
We headed to the police station to SHUT IT DOWN! This is what we’re doing – yes – in the wake of racist killings of Black people and racist findings of grand juries. SHUT IT DOWN!
The police were already there, standing stiffly behind silver barricades, with their batons extended across their bodies, gripped in two upright thick gloved fists, feet spread slightly, shoulders a little forward to amplify their already aggressive image.
We filled in the street front of the station, closing MLK, and continuing chanting, singing, yelling, talking – happy, satisfied we’d shut down the police station.
Some people on one side of the protest started playing music and dancing, others laid down and died-in again, and still others just sat down talking amongst ourselves.
Suddenly everyone got up to see what was happening toward University Ave: the police had stepped out from behind their barricade and moved to try to form a line across the street. Why did the police do that? Who the fuck gave that idiotic order?
We rose up as one, refusing to be penned in, and started marching again, edging past the police, to the police yelling at us to “back up, back up” from their failed attempt to do what? Block us in? Surround us?
I surged along with everyone toward the far sidewalk and the right side of the broken retreating line of cops. Right in front of me, suddenly a tall white cop, Smith #60, fury sliding across his pale face, lunged at a fellow walking 2 paces ahead of me, thrusting his baton trying to wack this guy in the gut, as if the kid was a particularly hard piece of wood he was resolute on splitting.
We all yelled, screaming out this asshole’s name and badge number, and sprang forward to protect this young plaid shirted fellow as we simultaneously were pulling backward, while Smith wielded this baton attempting to strike again and again. Other officers moved him back behind them – to protect him or stop him, I don’t know - where he stood disappointed, bouncing his body and jiggling his stick restlessly between gloved hands, itching to be back attacking us.
A large white man with a camera scootched in front of me, crouching down, filming the cops and protestors. Suddenly Kelly #20 lunged from the cop line, swinging her baton and hit the man on his left shoulder curled over his camera.
He never stopped filming. We loudly protested as she lunged and hit him again. And again. Like an old fashioned clock’s cuckoo bird darting out to count off the hours, one blow for each hour.
Unfuckinbelievable – his camera wasn’t even facing her, he was squatted on the ground a good three feet away from the cop line.
Then she retreated with the rest of cop line. #20 Kelly.
We had succeeded to move away from the police, the station, and open the path to University Ave. The police poured into our newly abandoned space and spread across MLK behind us. I noticed at least one cop carrying some kind of machine gun looking weapon. What? Do they think they’re facing some kind of militarized enemy army?
They’re facing people. Human beings. What is wrong with them???
What is wrong with us, allowing armed killer macho men to circulate freely amongst us? (Not to mention around the world.)
We paused and paced there, edging more towards University and away from the police station, our initial shock and surprise at the police violence still very much present but ebbing with University now open to us.
Suddenly blasts! The police are firing exploding canisters towards us into the crowd! What?
We all rushed toward University Ave and away from the crazed police, taking over that intersection, closing down University Ave.
More to come, but for now, I just want to tell you about this police violence.
It’s as if they are in a video game or Hollywood movie, and not thinking and considering us their neighbors, their sisters and parents and children – and certainly not thinking about holding accountable their fellow police officers (or themselves) who are shooting and killing human beings, their brothers & sisters & children – but certainly thinking about who and how they are going to project their superior weaponry power over.
And, as we all know, they are ready to kill. The willingness, even eagerness, to kill is not just spread all over their faces and anticipatory expressions, but it is in their every movement, their every stance, their every robotic obeying of orders as they exponentially increase their threat flowing into formation as one huge violent primed death-seeking creature.