Philadelphia activists come together to demand the DA reopen the case of the Brandon Tate-Brown, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by police last December during a traffic stop.
The mother of Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown, Mrs. Tanya Brown-Dickerson, was the first activist who showed up in front of the Office of the District Attorney in Center City Philadelphia this morning, a few minutes after 7am, for an act of civil disobedience that was silently planned over the weekend.
It wasn’t long before Mrs. Brown-Dickerson was joined by Ms. Erica Mines, Mr. Faruq Robinson, Ms. Dana Wildfire and Mr. Asa Khalif, cousin to Mr. Tate-Brown and the organizer of the direct action.
They assembled themselves in front of the office’s main entrance and Mr. Khalif stretched his body across the ground in the door’s arch.
Mr. Khalif stood up a few times to put his sign, which read “Black Lives Matters,” against the door.
A few minutes of chanting passed before Mr. Khalif and Ms. Mines, both members of the Philly REAL Justice Coalition, decided to occupy the lobby of the building.
At first they were met with minimal resistance: just a worker, a black man no more than age 30, who tried unsuccessfully to remove the two activists.
Soon after, officers of the law arrived and again asked for the activists to remove themselves from the “secure area.”
The activists then asserted their right to protest in a public building which is paid for by taxpayer dollars.
“We are tired of paying into a system that murder us,” shouted Ms. Mines to a female officer.
Ms. Mines, like Mr. Khalif, and the other activists who stood outside the office building to continue blocking the main entrance, are enraged by the District Attorney’s “arrogance” as it pertains to the case of Mr. Tate-Brown, who was killed by Officer Nicholas Carrelli on December 15th, 2014, during a traffic stop.
“The DA’s job today is to acknowledge the fact that the City of Philadelphia murdered Brandon Tate-Brown in cold blood. If he can’t confront us publicly and respectfully, then we will demand it,” said Ms. Mines, who reminded anyone within earshot that Philadelphia, where the Constitution was signed, is the epitome of racism and that the founding fathers were murders and slave owners (CLICK HERE to watch confrontation).
Mr. Khalif and Ms. Mines continued to demand Mr. Williams to come downstairs though it wasn’t confirmed whether or not he was in the building. After a few more moments, the activists left the building and took the streets to block rush hour traffic.
Mr. Khalif and Ms. Mines sat in the street while Mrs. Brown-Dickerson and Ms. Wildflower stood just a few feet away from them holding a sign that read “Seth Williams Reopen the Case. Your Arrogance is Injustice.”
Mr. Williams called the death of Mr. Tate-Brown tragic, but asserted that nothing criminal took place. His remarks, however, preceded a statement from Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Mr. Charles Ramsey, wherein he acknowledged that Mr. Tate-Brown wasn’t reaching into the passenger side of his for a gun when he was shot, which, since the fatal officer-involved shooting, had been the official account.
That admission from Mr. Ramsey was enough to sway the court of public opinion into reasonable doubt which resulted in demands that the investigation be reopen.
Mr. Williams, however, has consistently refused to do so.
“There’s no difference between Brandon Tate-Brown and Sandra Bland, except for the execution,” said Mrs. Brown-Dickerson, highlighting the fact that a traffic stop was how both cases began.
Mr. Robinson, who wore a shirt with a picture of his family that read “My family is a federal crime victim and witness,” called on the community, men in particular, to join the movement.
“These brothers out here talking about they for the Bible and they for this and they for that… y’all need to be out here removing all the people stealing and killing our women and children. Stand up… Stand the f*ck up for real,” he said.
Mr. Khalif pledged to return to the District Attorney’s office with a bigger and stronger coalition to again, make demands.
Mr. Khalif asked his comrades: “If we don’t get it?”
“Shut it down,” they all responded.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™