Black Lives Matter protesters held a rally Thursday night to protest the lack of indictment in the Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland cases. The rally of about 100 people blocked streets in DC’s Chinatown area, which is only a few blocks east of the White House.
One protester told local CBS affiliate WUSA9, “I hope to interrupt enough people’s New Years so they understand that this is serious. That Tamir Rice should have gotten justice. That Sandra Bland should have gotten justice.”
Video of the rally uploaded to YouTube shows one protest organizer, identified as Marybeth Onyeukwu, saying the lack of an indictment in the death of Sandra Bland was proof there is no hope for justice under the current system:
We’re talking about a system. The whole damn system is guilty as hell. There is no justice for us in this current system. So we’re not just protesting we are demanding a new world. And a new world means, I want you all to hear me, a new world means defunding, disorganizing and dismantling the police. It means defunding, disorganizing and dismantling the police.
This is not the first call to defund the police made by groups connected with Black Lives Matter. Last month an organizer for the Chicago chapter of the Black Youth Project appeared on MSNBC and said, “One of our major demands is that police be defunded and that that money used to fund police be used to fund black futures and be used to fund things our communities and things that we need.”
Sandra Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10, 2015 in Texas. The stop became confrontational after the officer ordered Bland out of the car. She was arrested, and three days later she was found dead in her cell.
An autopsy found that Bland had killed herself by hanging and that there were no signs of any struggle to indicate violence was committed against her. Her body did have some recent scarring consistent with self-harm and she admitted to a previous suicide attempt on her intake form. Video of the jail showed no one had entered her cell in the hour prior to her death.
Despite the evidence showing Bland’s death was self-inflicted, activists connected with Black Lives Matter continue to suggest she was murdered or, as one individual in Baltimore suggested this week, that she was “lynched” by racist police officers.
Last week a grand jury decided there would be no indictment in connection with Bland’s death. Special prosecutor Darrell Jordan told CNN, “The grand jury has looked at all the evidence and found no evidence of murder.”