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Activists continue calling for an end to police violence

Demonstrators with Mass Action Against Police Brutality called for an end to police violence through structural change in the police system at Doherty Playground Saturday — the group’s third protest since the killing of Daunte Wright more than two weeks ago.

protesters at a mass action against police brutality national day of action
Mass Action Against Police Brutality hosted a demonstration Saturday at Doherty Park in Dorchester to demand change in the police system. AARON VELASCO/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Brock Satter, a co-founder and organizer for Mass Action, told the crowd the protest was a part of a larger effort to place affected families at the forefront of the conversation — adding that commemorations of police killings are “a daily occurrence happening in communities across the country.”

“That’s why we have to stay out here, united, demanding justice,” Satter said. “That’s what we’re proposing with Mass Action, to continue a mass action campaign to center the families and their demands for justice, prosecute the police, to reopen all past cases of police brutality.”

Violence by police officers occurs across the country, Satter said in an interview, and justice will not be achieved without systemic change.

“There’s a culture of cover-up, intolerance, of the abuse of power by police,” Satter said. “We’re trying to uproot that culture.”

Satter said former Minneapolic police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction is not an indication of change in the justice system and therefore not a complete victory. However, it does show how protests can succeed, Satter added.

“This is an internal threat to security,” Satter said. “Domestic terrorism in full display, except with a badge and gun on it.”

Rahimah Rahim — mother of Usaamah Rahim, who was killed by the FBI and Boston police in 2015 — told protesters she wants her son’s case opened and the prosecution of police and those who enable police violence.

“Let’s use the laws that we have in place,” Rahim said, “and if they don’t work, get some new ones.”

In an interview, she advocated for police monitoring and investigation into their practices by independent agencies, rather than by fellow law enforcement.

“There’s no more officer friendly,” Rahim said. “It’s a highly armed military type of policeman that’s in our neighborhoods.”

Rahim said news outlets did not accurately report on her son’s death and neither did the police. She added he was being targeted by the FBI.

“We’re not being protected,” she said. “We’re being policed and imprisoned.”

Carla Sheffield, mother of Burrell Ramsey-White — shot by Boston Police in 2012 — said to the crowd her son was shot with his hands up by Boston police. Sheffield said she cannot name the officers involved for fear of legal ramifications.

“I can’t even say their names, or if I do, I will be sued, how ironic,” Sheffield said. “They kill my son and I can’t utter their names, but they can say anything they want about my child.”

Sheffield told the crowd she is fighting to get Ramsey-White’s case reopened.

“You violate my son’s civil liberties,” she said, “and I am going to fight until I get justice.” 

Sheffield said Black people in the United States want to live peacefully in their neighborhoods without fear of violence.

“The Constitution gave us our civil liberties,” she said, “and we’re going to exercise them.”

Juston Root was killed by Boston Police in February of last year. His sister, Jennifer Root Bannon, told protesters the police shot more than 30 bullets at him.

“We can’t let the truth be rewritten,” Root Bannon said. “Everyone needs to start questioning the narrative they are hearing on the news every time an officer kills someone.”

Root Bannon said the institutions in place that permitted the police to investigate themselves created a lack of impartiality and transparency in Root’s case.

“It’s never too late to build a more just system,” Root Bannon said. “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

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