New Orleans, LA – On March 8, killer cops Derek Chauvin and Michael Mattioli’s original trial date, the New Orleans Freedom Road Socialist Organization hosted a socially distant march for George Floyd and Joel Acevedo. Twenty protesters and four community organizations gathered in solidarity at Duncan Plaza.
On May 25, 2020, Chauvin, former officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, took George Floyd’s life. A month earlier, the lesser-known but equally deadly police officer Michael Mattioli strangled Joel Acevedo to death in Milwaukee. The protest demanded convictions for both and an end to police crimes.
They marched in a two-by-two formation to show their unity and disciplined organization.
The march responded to a call for solidarity from the Minneapolis anti-police crimes groups. Outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, 20-plus local organizations held a large protest. They demanded the maximum penalty. Video evidence and the presence of multiple witnesses prove that charges should be severe.
The March 8 demands centered around an end to the white supremacy deeply sewn in the birth and history of the police. Only months of consistent pressure and organizing on the ground have caused the actions of Chauvin and his three accomplices to take some degree of heat.
Chauvin is only the tip of an iceberg that absolutely needs to be unearthed and shredded. Real oversight and accountability of police departments, including the New Orleans Police Department, is necessary. Reparations are due, and control should not be in the hands of racist and oppressive forces, dead set on incarcerating and oppressing Black and brown communities.
At the protest, Toni Jones of the New Orleans FRSO told participants: “Think about the Black men, all the Black women, all the other oppressed nationalities who are being killed by cops and getting no justice at all. So it’s not a done deal, we don’t know that we’re going to get a victory here today, but we’re still out here fighting because we know it’s making a difference.”
Sage Michael of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition added: “OPPRC is a group that started back in 2004 when we had the most dangerous jails in the country and we had over 6000 people in local jails, which made us the incarceration capitol of the world in our time at that time. We have under 1000 people in our jails now, down from 6000, and that happened because of people organizing like us.”
Other organizations present included New Orleans DSA and Abolish Tulane PD. The group closed out with a discussion on the importance of winning community control over the police.
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