Activists commemorate the one year anniversary of the unjust police killing of Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown with disruptive, yet peaceful protest through Center City Philadelphia.
Patrons of Center City Philadelphia retails stores and a restaurant yesterday were inconvenienced greatly by activists who were commemorating with a protest the one-year anniversary of an unjust police killing in the City, a shooting whose details are eerily similar to the case of Mr. Laquan McDonald in Chicago, where a white officer—who claimed he feared for his life because the 17-year-old was armed with a 3″ knife though he was walking in the opposite direction—shot the fleeing subject sixteen times.
Mr. McDonald’s story has become widely known. Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown’s, however, has not, despite the story arcs being almost identical: police kill a fleeing African-American; offers a false narrative in a report; evidence, including footage, is covered up and only released because of a lawsuit; and then enters the Department of Justice.
On December 15th, 2014, Mr. Nicholas Carreli, a white Philadelphia police officer who at the time was labeled a rookie, shot 26-year-old Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown, a black man, in the back of his head during a traffic stop.
According to Mr. Brian Mildenburg, the lawyer representing the Tate-Brown estate, Mr. Carreli told the first responder he had to shoot Mr. Tate-Brown because the 26-year-old was shooting at officers. The next person to arrive on the scene, Mr. Mildenburg said, was told a different story: Mr. Tate-Brown ran up to the passenger side door of his car and was reaching for a gun, so he was shot.
The latter narrative is what was fed to the media and then the public for months, until June, when Mr. Tate-Brown’s mother, Mrs. Tanya Brown-Dickerson, filed a lawsuit against the city—and her lawyer issued discovery—forcing the government to release documents and footage of the shooting which contradicted everything that had been said prior by police and public officials.
The Philadelphia Police Commissioner in June publicly stated that a rush to fed the media led to a false narrative, confirming what Mr. Mildenburg, Mrs. Brown-Dickerson, and private investigators had been saying since the December shooting: Mr. Tate-Brown was killed while unarmed and fleeing.
“It was one story until the lights got turned on, then there’s another story,” Reverend Mark Tyler said at a rally in front of City Hall yesterday evening before the march that congested rush hour traffic for more than an hour. “We have a contradiction here, yet the DA refuses to go back and re-examine it and give justice to this family.”
The Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney was the first stop protesters made after leaving Dilworth Park, the lavish grounds that surround City Hall.
Police officers, with their bikes in tow, lined up to ensure protesters didn’t go in the building. For at least five minutes, protesters outside the DA’s office chanted, “F*uck the police!”
When the march moved onto Walnut Street—the equivalent of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, where blocks of high-end eateries and retail stores are situated—police weren’t able to contain the protesters as they went from store to store disrupting business as usual. One of the first businesses targeted by protesters was Tiffany & Co.
Mr. Khalif stood in front of the door, preventing patrons from entering. And when an officer attempted to protect the property, he received an earful from Ms. Megan Malachi, who suggested he was foolish for trying to guard a business that he, on a policeman’s salary, can’t afford to shop at.
“We warned ya’ll the purge was coming,” Mr. Asa Khalif, a cousin to the Tate-Brown family, shouted to shoppers.
Mr. Khalif months ago on a talk radio show pledged he and his comrades would return to Rittenhouse Square, one the city’s most swanky areas, to agitate those who are indifferent to state-sanctioned violence against black and brown bodies.
Many of the protesters, including Mr. Khalif, confronted police officers last night, yelling at them; calling them out for their silence and, at one point when police became a little rambunctious, altering them they would fight back.
“If you hit me, I’m going to hit you back,” Mr. Khalif said to one officer.
Mr. Khalif and Ms. Malachi, a teacher who has used the case of Mr. Tate-Brown as a lesson for her 8th-grade students, both spoke ill of the current Mayor of Philadelphia, Mr. Michael Nutter, who has never once made a statement publicly about this case.
Ms. Malachi said incoming Police Commissioner, Mr. Richard Ross, would not be getting off easy, as activists have pledged to follow him around the city, as they did with Mr. Ramsey, until Mr. Carelli and his partner, Mr. Heng Dang, are taken off the street, relieved of their badge and gun, and are indicted for the wrongful death of Mr. Tate-Brown.
“We’re not going away until we get justice,” said Rev. Tyler.
‘Exploring Generations of Black Activism,’ a live broadcast featuring black male thought-leaders on Saturday, December 19th, 2015 beginning at 1pm EST and heard exclusively on www.TheDrVibeShow.com, will be moderated by Christopher “Flood the Drummer” Norris.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™