BOSTON (AP) — Supporters of Massachusetts families whose loved ones have been killed by police rallied in Boston on Saturday as part of a national day of action.
Mass Action Against Police Brutality, a local advocacy group, said it organized the afternoon gathering in Peters Park in the city’s South End neighborhood.
The organization said similar events were taking place in at least 17 other states Saturday, including California, New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
The rallies are timed just ahead of the expected March 8 start of the trial of the former police officer, Derek Chauvin, charged in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while Floyd was held face-down on the ground handcuffed and saying he couldn’t breathe, and he eventually grew still.
Body camera footage indicates Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Mass Action Against Police Brutality says the rallies are the next step in a series of “family-first events and activities” aimed at underscoring the central demands of the families: prosecuting police officers and reopening police brutality cases.
“We’ve called a demonstration to demand the conviction of all these officers starting with Derek Chauvin in this upcoming trail,” said protest organizer Brock Satter, WBZ radio reported. “We’re demanding convictions. They should go to jail for their crimes.”
Among the local cases the organization wants reopened are the killings by police of DJ Henry, Eurie Stamps, Malcolm Gracia, Burrell Ramsey-White, Ross Batista, Usaamah Rahim, Terrence Coleman, and Juston Root.