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Students gather outside Coffman to demand justice for Amir Locke

UMN’s Students for a Democratic Society held a protest on campus to demand justice for Amir Locke and the establishment of a Campus Police Accountability Council (CPAC).
Image by Bella Carpentier
Protestors march down SE Beacon Street on Wednesday, Feb. 16. University of Minnesota students organized the protest in response to the police killing of Amir Locke.

Wednesday evening, a crowd of about sixty students assembled outside of the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union at 6 p.m. to demand justice for Amir Locke.

“Amir Locke’s name will never be forgotten and we will always be there to fight for him,” said Bella Harbison, a speaker representing the UMN branch of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

SDS organized Wednesday’s protest and outlined three demands: to arrest and charge the officers involved in Amir Locke’s killing, to end the University’s relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and to establish a Campus Police Accountability Council (CPAC).

“We would like to see more action [from the University] than just a sympathetic email,” said Mira Altobell-Resendez, a third-year student and SDS member.

Before the speakers started, the protesters gathered, carrying signs painted with “Jail killer cops now” and “Black Lives Matter.”

After hearing from speakers from Freedom Road Socialist Organization, White Coats for Black Lives and the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J), students followed the lead of a sound van and prepared to march. Students at the front of the march carried a banner reading “justice for all stolen lives.”

“I know we are tired. Tired of one more Black man killed by cops,” Loretta VanPelt, a speaker representing TCC4J, said. “And here we are again, taking to the streets to demand justice.”

With chants of “No justice. No peace. Prosecute the police,” students marched in the 21 degree weather down Washington Avenue. The crowd attracted attention from onlookers standing along the East Bank light rail station, some of whom stopped to videotape and join in chants.

“We need to keep up the momentum because we can’t continue to have just waves of people coming into the movement after a death,” second-year Gracelyn McClure said. “We need to continue to pressure the University of Minnesota. We need to pressure Minneapolis. We need to pressure our elected officials to hold the police accountable.”

The protest wrapped up in front of the Washington Avenue Parking Ramp.

As students gathered to listen to a last speaker, a line of cars that built up behind the protesters honked as the students gathered in the street.

“Why is a minor inconvenience more aggravating than the loss of an innocent life?” Rahman said, addressing the honking cars.

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