Community members and Michigan State students march to the East Lansing Police Department

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By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2014, there was a protest march to the East Lansing Police Department in recognition of the National Day of Resistance.

The march was held to protest police brutality, criminalization and repression, said Rashad Timmons, one of the organizers.

Crystal Gause, a community member who helped to organize the march, said that there were over 70 protests across the country.

“It was a small part of a big thing,” said Gause.

Nathan Wikman, a philosophy and linguistics junior at MSU, walked in the march and wrote in an e-mail, “The protest was about trying to prevent the militarization of the police, particularly as it effects the black community who are overwhelmingly targeted by police and other law enforcement officers.”

Gause said that the protest march was organized by many of the alliances on MSU’s campus, including MSU Students United, the Black Student Alliance and the North American Indigenous Student Organization.

“The protest wasn’t limited to a student movement,” said Gause, “a lot of community people joined as well.”

Timmons, president of the Black Student Alliance at MSU, said the protesters wanted to stand in solidarity with communities that frequently deal with police brutality, such as the residents of Palestine, Ferguson and, more recently, Hong Kong.

“I am a scholar activist,” said Timmons, “I believe in the power of organization, the power of resistance.”

“A lot of people are fed up with police brutality, but they didn’t have a way to express it,” said Gause.

“Approximately 200 students and community members marched in the protest,” said Timmons.

Gause said that a lot of social media was involved to spread the word about the protest march, as well as flyers that were put up.

Wikman said he was invited to the event on Facebook, because he knew some of the groups that organized the protest.

The march started at Beaumont Tower and then the group marched to the police station, said Gause.

Timmons said that the protesters submitted five demands for the ELPD to respond to.

In an e-mail, Timmons said that the five demands were that all police officers must wear video cameras on their bodies, all military surplus weapons and equipment must be returned or safely disposed of, all records of police detainments and arrests must be made available to the public, the community must have input on the appointment of officers that will serve in that community and the East Lansing Police Department must release a statement to the press condemning the violent actions taken by the police in Ferguson, Missouri over the past 73 days.

“The police agreed to comment on our demands…within a week,” said Wikman, “If they do not give us what we want, then we will be back in force later next week.”

“This is a call to action for people to stand against police brutality, as it happens locally, as well as nationally and globally,” said Timmons.

“If we as a society do not rise up against such treatment of other humans, then it will only spread to other aspects of our lives,” said Wikman.

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