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Police Arrest, Brutalize Peaceful Protestors in Demonstrations

Activists brutalized in Black Lives Matter protests.

As the protests against systemic, sometimes fatal racism that often goes unpublished go on across the nation (and across Europe, mostly in solidarity) those a part of the various demonstrations and actions are being brutalized and aggressively handled by police. In addition, they are being possibly exposed to the virus at the center of the ongoing global pandemic as police are not utilizing and dispensing adequate personal protective equipment to protect the community. According to reports, police have arrested more than 11,000 people at protests — Black folks likely make up a disproportionate number of these detainments.

Of the many instances of recorded police brutality including officers driving their vehicles into protestors to mow them down, as well as authorities macing protestors who are demonstrating peacefully with their hands up, quite a number have included LGBTQ+ folks. On Tuesday, Adore Delano shared a video that had been screen recorded from her friend's Instagram live. The feed was from Monday night as the friend was reportedly walking home.

"My friend got arrested for WALKING. HOME. TODAY." Delano wrote in a tweet. "On Hollywood Blvd where most people WALK HOME from work (Including myself sometimes.)" The Instagram Live includes a caption that the person filming is "trying to get home" after the curfew the city imposed.

As they walk they are looking around and talking to some others. 

"We should go," they say. "Just keep walking. The cops are coming. We want to be away from this so they don't attack us." In the footage, people are running as police officers swarm. In the background, you can hear police sirens. When cops begin to yell at them, they respond "We're going home we're live." They then comply with police demands to "get on the ground" and police approach with weapons drawn.

"Stop, I didn't do anything" they cry. "I'm sorry, I swear I didn't do anything."

"Shut the fuck up," an officer yells in reply. In the background of the clip, an officer on the radio can be heard.

"To the units on Hollywood Boulevard, you should not be driving past anyone," it says. "Stop where you are and take someone into custody." According to the Los Angeles Police Department itself, its officers arrested more than 2,700 people since the protests started with the majority being for “failure to disperse” or for violating the city’s curfew.

On Tuesday night in New York activists circles and some on social media were alarmed and demanded answers when Jason Rosenberg as well as a group of other activists were taken into police custody. In images from directly prior to Jason disappearing from social media for hours, he was depicted bloodied on a street corner. Many, including Senator Brad Hoylman, called for answers. On Wednesday morning, Rosenberg resurfaced, his face still bloodied with a gash on his head and a broken arm. 

"I am going to go to the ER," he said in a video posted shortly after leaving the Red Hook police precinct. " I was trying not to at first but I definitely need to go to the ER." In the video, he explained that he was participating in a peaceful protest nearby The New School. When the group began to see "some escalation" by police, they continued to move along.

"Then a lot of us linked arms in solidarity and civil disobedience which is not resisting arrest and we were all thrown to ground," Rosenberg said. "I was beaten on all sides with a baton and some punches and I was on the concrete so that's sort of where I'm at. I'm at least lucky that it's a lot earlier than I thought I'd get out. I have a feeling I will be in the ER for a while. but I'm ok I'm alive." According to the video, while sitting on the sidewalk coughed, because of what happened, authorities referred to him as "the bloody one." He ended up with nine staples in the head and a borken humerus but did not need surgery. Hoylman has said he will be following up on the incident as Rosenberg was given no medical attention while in custody.

Marti Gould Cummings, a drag performer and outspoken activist who is currently running for political office was also arrested in New York City Tuesday night. According to a tweet, they were held for almost 12 hours.

"Was arrested at 5:15. Released 7:20," they wrote in a tweet posted Wednesday morning. "Denied phone call. Never told rights. In cuffs for four hours. No clean masks. Most cops not wearing masks." In footage of Cummings at the protests before their arrest they are wearing a mask of their own.

"I'll be donating $500 to bail fund to help others today," they wrote. "It was horrible and scary but I get to [go] home. How many innocent Black people have encountered police and don't make it home."  In addition to donating money to bail funds — many of which have said the influx in donations has been more than sufficient for their needs — those hoping to help can donate to mutual aid funds and/or other organizations like The Okra Project and more that work to assist Black folks.

"I want you all to spend today uplifting and promoting Black organizations businesses, artists and marching for Black lives," Cummings said in a video posted to Twitter.

RELATED | 5 Ways to Support the 2020 Protestors Wherever You Are

Tags: Activism

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