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A group of primarily white protestors stood outside the D.C. Office of Police Complaints Thursday morning, calling for an end to racism in the D.C. police department.
The crowd of roughly 100 chanted phrases like “No justice, no peace” and “Freedom now” at 14th and I streets NW and held signs honoring Sherman Evans, who was shot and killed this year by Metropolitan Police Department officers. Others held signs that simply read “Black Lives Matter.”
The group called on D.C. residents to file complaints of racism against MPD officers, holding signs with the phone number for filing complaints with the department. They yelled demands for MPD to make the investigation into the officers involved in Evans’ death more transparent and to release a concrete timeline on when they will make a public announcement of the officer’s fate.
The D.C. chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, a group of mostly white activists who call for an end to injustice against black people, organized the protest as part of the National Day of Action.
Between chants from the crowd, Sean Blackmon, an organizer for the Stop Police Terror Project, spoke about how he believes there should be an “ideological shift” away from the “white supremacist capitalism” that perpetuates unjust treatment of black people.
“Under the system of white supremacist capitalism, no lives can matter,” he said.
Blackmon says that D.C. is “every bit as liable and guilty” as other major cities who have come under fire for the deaths of black people while in police custody. He said MPD only acknowledges 15 percent of the complaints they receive about police actions, and the protest group called for more accountability in the department.
He said the top-down approach for change will not work. Blackmon was critical of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to increase police presence in response to the spike in crime last year.
“This is an example of how we cannot rely on the state to solve our problem,” he said after his speech. “The state is the problem.”
Photos by Robin Eberhardt