Stand up, fight back: March after white supremacists shoot protesters

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UPDATE 10 p.m.: A huge crowd marched from the 4th Precinct to downtown Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon, unintimidated by the white supremacist shooting of  five protesters on Monday night. As of Tuesday evening, police have three young white men in custody. A Hispanic man was arrested but then released, as he was not at the shooting scene. For more, see Star Tribune article. [This article has been substantially revised and updated, following the march.]

The shooting took place on Monday night, when three white men again invaded the protest space in front of the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis. Not that they were the only white people present — protesters of all races, ages, sizes and shapes come and go freely. But these three were white supremacists, known to the protesters from their previous visits to the space. The protesters demanded that they unmask. When the three refused, they were escorted away — and then, once out of camera range, the three turned and shot five protesters.

Mychal Denzel Smith wrote in The Nation today:

 “This sort of violence, whether it’s done by the state or individual actors, is intended to frighten, to produce cowardice in the people fighting for answers in the death of yet another black person killed by the police. This is the kind of violence that is meant to remind black people of their place. It’s the defense of a racist status quo. …

What the shooters wanted was for the protesters to cower in fear. What they are likely to find is that this only strengthens their resolve.”

This afternoon’s march, tonight’s concert, and the continued occupation of the block in front of the 4th Precinct demonstrate that the violence failed — it has not frightened away people seeking change in the Minneapolis and Minnesota, but has indeed strengthened our resolve and increased our numbers.

Background on the shooting

I wasn’t there on Monday night. But people who were have posted videos and testimony. Watch the videos here and here (especially Jie’s account at 12:30). (I’ve attempted to embed the videos below, but they do not appear to be loading correctly.)

The Minneapolis police were slow in answering calls for help, according to some of those present. Some told protesters “You asked for it,” and refused to leave the station to help.

Police who did arrive at the scene where a protester lay bleeding from a gunshot to the stomach, had a different priority than helping. They pushed the victim’s friends back, spraying mace in their faces.

All five victims went to hospitals. Their wounds were reported as not life-threatening.

Tuesday, public officials deplored the shooting, and praised the police work in making arrests.

Last week, Black Lives Matter posted a video and Scribd document with a transcript of emails of white supremacists discussing their actions and plans for disruptions of the protest. Gawker reposted that information and more today.

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