Black Lives Matter protests continued Friday night at the Capitol following an afternoon of Pride-themed BLM protests.
Organizers from Impact Demand, the youth-led group in charge of the protests, discussed Tony McDade, a transgender Black man killed by Florida police May 27.
Officers said McDade fit the description of the suspect in a stabbing, and Tallahassee police said the officer shot him in self-defense after he pulled a gun. But witnesses say McDade wasn’t given warning, and others say he didn’t have a gun, according to reporting from Complex.
Organizers said they’re fighting for community control of the police so instances like this don’t continue to happen. Impact Demand’s three main policy goals are community control of police, Breonna’s law — named after — Breonna Taylor, which would make it much harder for police to enter a home unannounced in drug cases, and the Hands Up Act, which calls for the immediate firing of any police officer who shoots an unarmed person.
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Impact Demand leader De’Asia Donaldson spoke about their goals and about the need for community control. She cited the shooting of Tony Robinson, an unarmed Black man from Madison whose killer, Matt Kenny, still works for the Madison Police Department.
“It is not acceptable that the police department can set the rules and we don’t have any say in it,” Donaldson said. “When we say we want Matt Kenny fired, we want Matt Kenny fired now.”
A student representative from Madison Public Schools involved in the No Cops in Schools campaign spoke about her work. This campaign aims to remove all police presence from schools, including liaisons and resource officers.
Their plan also includes investing more in Black youth and pushing for transformative justice that eliminates any reason the police would need to be at the school.
“We’re gonna get cops out of school, y’all just wait,” the student said.
The protestors chanted “Black lives matter,” and “Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit,” in front of the Capitol.
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The protestors then spent much of the night dancing and hanging out on Martin Luther King Boulevard. A group brought food, from hotdogs and hamburgers to pizza and snacks.
Organizers stressed tonight’s protest was peaceful and condemned anyone who tried to say they were rioting.
“They say we’re rioting — are we rioting? If we were rioting, we would have burned this mother****er down,” Donaldson said.
Impact Demand is hosting its next event Wednesday, where they’ll march around the Capitol with glowsticks.