A crowd in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday demanding racial justice expressed, as usual at such events, frustration and anger. And the rally featured the usual passionate speeches, hand-held signs and fiery chants.
But this time, the outrage seemed to have climbed a notch higher than in the frequent demonstrations that have been held in the Twin Cities since George Floyd's May 25 death in the hands of Minneapolis police.
Several hundred people gathered to protest the death of Dolal Idd, a Black man shot and killed by Minneapolis police last month after he fired a gun at them, and Jacob Blake, a Black man shot and wounded by police in Kenosha, Wis., last year. A Wisconsin prosecutor announced last week that no charges would be filed against the officer who shot Blake.
"By any means necessary!" several people shouted, echoing Malcolm X's cry for racial justice.
What intensified the demonstrators' anger and frustration was that most had seen last week's TV news coverage of the mayhem last week when a mob, including apparent white supremacists, stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming police who appeared to take little action against them.
"We woke up to an America that, for the first time in a long time, saw its ugly true face a couple of days ago at the Washington, D.C., Capitol House," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota. "After George Floyd was killed, we thought Minneapolis said, 'Enough was enough.' We thought Minneapolis police said, 'Enough was enough.' But not too long ago, they killed Dolal Idd. … And they are still spinning their wheels today."
The crowd marched from the Hennepin County Government Center through downtown Minneapolis, chanting, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" "No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!" and "When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back!"
Many held handwritten signs with slogans that included "Blue Lives Murder" and "MPD To-Do List: Stop killing Black bodies, stop killing Black bodies, stop killing Black bodies."
They stopped in front of the Minneapolis Police Department's First Precinct Station for more speeches and chants.
Minneapolis police say they want to "break up gangs," Nekima Levy Armstrong, a Minneapolis attorney and civil right activist, told the crowd. "They're the biggest gang in the city of Minneapolis."
Among the speakers were people whose family members had been killed by police, including Idd's father, Bayle Gelle of Eden Prairie.
"I know my son is not coming back … he was a sweet son," Gelle said. "We have to stick together and fight for our rights."
Colin Owens of Minneapolis, who attended the rally, said it was the second time he'd protested.
"It's good to hear the stories," said Owens, who is white. "I'm so sick of this. … Even my dad was like, 'We can't do anything about this.'
"I just felt so alone," he said. "It's great to be here among people who feel like they can actually make a difference."
Katy Read • 612-673-4583