Police in two different locations attacked peaceful protesters, in one instance even going as far as to use their vehicle as a battering ram into the crowd of activists in the street.
A shocking video uploaded to Twitter shows protesters run over by a police vehicle in Detroit, Michigan, by an unknown officer. The account who is also a protester claims that 10-12 people are facing injuries and in the hospital after the incident. The protesters were protesting police brutality and justice for those victims of police violence, Click Detroit reported.
Detroit Police Department drove into 10-12 protesters including myself. Multiple people are going to the hospital. #NoJusticeNoPeace #detroitpolice #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTayor #PoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/etj3a6ejzN
— Activist Ethan Lucas (@DJEazyTwist) June 29, 2020
Elsewhere, police in Aurora, Colorado, broke up a peaceful vigil in the memory of a 23-year-old massage therapist and violinist, Elijah McClain, by using pepper spray and batons against protesters. Videos of the event show the police charging the crowds, spraying protestors with pepper spray, and brutally beating them with their batons.
As #Aurora municipal security forces lost patience with how long it was taking to illegally evict us from the #ElijahMcClain violin vigil, they began deploying chemical agents directly into protesters faces and at protesters that were fleeing while attempting to make arrests pic.twitter.com/ElDeu8Q4LD
— dula lipa (@dulapalooza) June 28, 2020
Officers falsely arrested and put McClain in a now-banned carotid chokehold, cutting off blood supply to his brain. They claimed that the 5’6” 140-pound McClain, who was medically diagnosed with anemia, fought back with “crazy strength.” As a result, they decided to instruct medics to inject him with ketamine, a drug reserved for tranquilizing horses. McClain was pronounced brain dead after arriving at the hospital.
Bodycam footage from the event, however, tells a completely different story, showing McClain gasping for air repeatedly telling the cops “I can’t breathe.” Beyond that officers threatened to unleash their dogs on him if he moved a single muscle. Officers also admit that he had done nothing illegal. His final words were as follows:
“I can’t breathe. I have my I.D. right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m a mood Gemini. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work. Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that. I just can’t breathe correctly.”
McClain’s last words pleading the officers to let him breathe resemble those of other high profile black victims of police brutality, specifically — Eric Garner (choked to death by NYPD in 2014) and George Floyd (choked to death by Minneapolis police in May).
The actions of the Aurora and Detroit Police Departments come at a time of heightened scrutiny of law enforcement and are sure to add fuel to the fire to those calling for the defunding or abolition of police departments entirely. In fact, a recent Reuters poll found that 39 percent of Americans favored entirely dismantling the police.
Protests have erupted across the country as protesters have voiced their concern for African American lives, inequality, systematic racism, and the overall issue of police brutality. As a result of the chaos, some people have taken advantage of the situation with riots and looting breaking out in some places which authorities have struggled to contain.
Peaceful protests across the country have been marred by occasional violent clashes between police with several videos of police brutality going viral. As the New York Times reported, authorities have responded to the calls for protests with more excessive force against the protesters. Various videos uploaded online shocked the internet showing officers using batons, tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against protesters early on of the George Floyd protests. That behavior seems to still be ongoing.
Not even press has been safe, between May 26th and June 3rd the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker identified 180 assaults on journalists covering the protests, 149 of them which were done by the police.