Rise Up October

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By Yaniris Byfield

Family members, activists and friends of those shot by police gathered on 47th and Broadway in Times Square to demand an end to police brutality as a kick off for the “RiseUp October” a three-day demonstration.

Dionne Smith, whose son was killed by police, came from California to be a part of the demonstration. “I’m the mother of James Rivera, 16 years old, unarmed, from the State of California,” she said. “My son was shot by three police, two from the Staten Island Police Department and one sheriff. I’ve been fighting five years regarding my son’s death and I’ve not received police reports.”

Many are familiar with names like Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, but there are hundreds of others that are killed by police each year.

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L’Sana DJahspora shared his experience. “My son Cinque…was executed by police in Jackson, Tennessee,” he said. “And I use the word executed because he was lying flat on the ground face down when he was shot in the back and that’s on video. We know from eyewitness accounts that these policemen actually when back to the car while my son was down and came back and shot him.¬† I say that to point out how little threat he obviously posed. You don’t leave someone who’s posing a threat to you lying on the ground. They came back and killed him.”

Many times all the mothers, fathers and friends want is a explanation for the killing and, in many occasions, an explanation is not offered by the police.

“I’m LaReko Williams’ mother,” said¬†Temako Williams. “He is from Charlotte, North Carolina. He was aged 21 when a Charlotte CPPD police officer tasered him three times. We have never seen a video or forage to support that.”

With the hashtags #riseupoctober and #saytheirnames, many showed their support via social media

The demonstration culminated with a national march to stop police brutality on Saturday October 24 in Bryant Park.

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