“When did the Police Ever Protect and Serve?”: Marching for Marcus-David Peters

On a half-sunny, half-rainy Saturday afternoon, June 2, a rally and march of roughly 300-400 took the streets of Richmond to demand justice and reformation for Marcus-David Peters, killed by Richmond police on May 14. The color burgundy (Marcus’ favorite color), dominated the scene, as people marched through the VCU section of W Broad street, the Jefferson Hotel, and the Richmond Police Station to connect the dots in Marcus-David Peters’ life before it was tragically ended by police.

PHOTO: Foreground has various neon green signs with black-and-white pictures of black men and women on them: Marcus-David Peters, Philando Castile, Natasha McKenna, and Eric Garner. A crowd below holds the signs with green sticks and butterfly wings. A crowd is marching behind them with various other signs. Background is a graphic image with burgundy and white stripes.

Solidarity C’Ville previously covered a powerful church gathering leading up to this march and we came back once again to bear witness to this movement to end police violence. What follows is an abridged version of our live-tweet thread:

Charlottesville came down with a large contingent, ranging from students, to legal observers, to long-time activists and residents. The Community Defense march referenced above included one of Solidarity CVille’s first stabs at media activism last year.

After the speeches at the Siegel Center at VCU were done, the crowd gathered to march down W Broad street. If you’d like to listen to the speeches in full, check out this livestream (program starts at 4:50 mark).

 

When the crowd stopped at the Jefferson Hotel, Marcus’ former employer, speakers called out the Hotel’s negligent role in not helping Marcus in his time of mental health crisis moments before he was killed by police. The crowd proceeded to the location of the most directly responsible: the Richmond Police Department.

The demands of Marcus’ family are as follows:

  1. RPD publicly release the details of their Crisis Intervention Training and its effectiveness thoroughly assessed by crisis intervention experts
  2. Creation of “Marcus Alert” to call on mental health professionals to respond when community members are clearly in crisis
  3. A sincere apology from Chief Alfred Durham for the preventable death of
  4. Enactment of a democratically elected Civilian Review Board with subpoena power
  5. Chief Alfred Durham and Mayor Levar Stoney attend a community meeting held by the community, for the community, to discuss the Richmond Police Department’s policies, procedures, and accountability

They also demand a statement from The Jefferson Hotel explaining why they did not take immediate action. The family gives Chief Durham 24 days to respond to these demands.

Rain poured heavily on the crowd as it gathered in from of the RPD headquarters, but the energy did not subside.

As the prayer closed, the crowd dispersed and participants made sure to leave messages for the police.