The Media Ignored Massive Anti-Police Brutality Protests That Occurred Earlier This Week

April 16th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Protesters in multiple U.S. cities turned out in droves earlier this week in support of what organizers were calling #A14ShutDown, shorthand for April 14th demonstrations against the widespread police brutality that has been the subject of much public attention in recent months.  

But despite coordinated demonstrations in cities from New York City to Los Angeles that included blockages and arrests, as well as speeches by high profile public figures, the protests received little national media attention as they happened.  

"When you take a stand, when you're willing to take a risk and tell the truth...the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak," Dr. Cornel West told those gathered at a rally in New York's Union Square. "When suffering speaks, the powers that be have to respond in some way, and there have been too many folk not just murdered, not just killed, but systematically disrespected, and we've reached the point where we can't take it any longer," he said through loud cheers. 

The New York protest snaked through Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and eventually into the borough itself. At least a few were arrested on the bridge for breaking through police lines, with one reported injury of a broken leg.  Journalist Victoria Bekiempis reported seeing at least a dozen people being handcuffed by the New York Police Department, though it was unclear if they were formally arrested or charged. 

In step, reports echoed coverage of protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in Staten Island. 

Although the Black Lives Matter movement was associated with the protests, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network ultimately organized the events. Both West and Carl Dix are listed as founders of the organization, whose mission statement reads: "We are initiating an effort to accelerate the movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support prisoners' human rights, and of the formerly incarcerated. We call on all to join us." 

There were sizable demonstrations in cities across the US. In Los Angeles, demonstrators apparently sat on the city's metro train tracks, and major roads were reportedly blocked across the Bay Area. In Chicago, hundreds of activists showed up in support. "I attended #ShutDownA14 because it was a chance for me to make history and be a part of it. I did it for my family, ancestors, and many black people whose family have been murdered by white police officers," 19-year-old activist Sequoia Wilson told MintPress News. In Seattle, close to 100 demonstrators reportedly blocked some intersections in the city's downtown area. 

The protests were the latest widespread organized events aimed against the shooting deaths of a number of unarmed black men in recent months, along with what observers see as generally disproportionate and skewed use of force by police. Just this month, tensions flared with the shooting death of Walter Scott by Officer Michael Slager in South Carolina, who was captured on a bystander's camera phone shooting Scott eight times in the back before what appeared to be planting a taser as evidence near the body. In other cases this month, Eric Harris was accidentally shot by an officer in Tulsa, Ok., and a man in Arizona was captured on a dashcam being run over by a squad car in dubious circumstances.