Evanston residents join national police brutality protests following George Floyd death


Catherine Buchaniec/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston residents gathered Sunday afternoon to protest police brutality. Those photographed above were asked by the photographer for their permission before the photo was taken

Catherine Buchaniec, Design Editor

Evanston joined the ranks of cities nationwide protesting against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Over a thousand residents gathered outside the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, at Church and Ridge, on Sunday afternoon. Protesters then marched throughout Evanston and congregated in a parking lot across from Evanston Township High School.

Evanston youths organized the protest to address police brutality and the death of Floyd. A white police officer killed Floyd, a black man, by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him.

Evanston’s protest was one among those held across cities including Chicago, Minneapolis and Atlanta. Unlike Saturday’s protests in Chicago, some of which turned violent and resulted in looting, the Evanston protest remained peaceful.

“We are tired,” the organizers wrote in a statement. “Not only should Black culture matter but the lives of black people should be protected in America.”

Featuring chants such as “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go” and “Whose streets? Our streets,” the bulk of those in attendance were teenagers and younger Evanston residents.

Nora Miller, a rising ETHS senior, said she encouraged her parents to attend with her and her friends because she wanted to show support for Floyd.

“I am black and Mexican, and racism in America has been plaguing the U.S. for so many years that I just felt very passionate about having conversations that talk about racism,” Miller said. “Seeing so many institutional practices that oppress black people in America made me want to show my support.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers required attendees to wear a mask or a face covering. Signs were also placed along the march’s route to promote social distancing.
However, protestors did not follow social distancing measures the entire time.

“The idea of a protest is extremely difficult to enforce social distancing at,” Miller added.

Protestors carried signs stating “Black Lives Matter” as well as “Justice for George.” (Catherine Buchaniec/Daily Senior Staffer)

Victims of police brutality spoke after the march about their experiences and interactions with local authorities, including Trenton Hunt, a 20-year-old black man who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct following physical interaction with Evanston police Wednesday night. Hunt said he approached the police after noticing friend Kevin Washington being detained and said after he started recording the interaction the police became aggressive.

“This isn’t something I’m not used to, they’ve been doing this for years,” Hunt said. “They’ve been doing this with me — any minority.”

The Evanston Police Department declined to comment on Hunt’s case, but Interim City Manager Erika Storlie said in a press release she plans to make the police body camera footage public.

Vernice Bogan, the mother of Demetrius Bogan briefly spoke about her son, who was shot by Skokie police in March. According to a press release, officers had responded to a call about a suspicious person inside of a vehicle near a Skokie 7-Eleven, later identified as Demetrius. Police say Bogan threatened officers with a handgun, and he now faces three felony charges, including aggravated assault.

“Owning a firearm and stopping at 7-Eleven to get snacks does not warrant getting shot in the back,” Vernice Bogan said. “We can’t just rally for lives lost, this community needs you all — I need you all to advocate for survivors.”

The Skokie Police Department did not immediately respond to The Daily’s requests for comment.

The protest concluded with an open mic session aimed at those who have been impacted by police brutality.

Brandon Ruffin, a 2015 ETHS graduate, voiced his support for the protest’s organizers and amazement at their youth.

“I’m 22 years old and people younger than me are fighting for their lives,” Ruffin said. “So many old black people are tired because they have been fighting for so long.”

During this open mic session, Juneitha Shambee, an Evanston lawyer, also offered her legal services pro-bono to those who have been arrested for protesting this weekend.

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