Protests On Day 5: 'This Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint'
A fifth day of protests calling for police reforms continued Tuesday in Cincinnati. A mid-day gathering outside the Hamilton County Courthouse was smaller than previous events. People stood peacefully holding signs and listening as crowd members took turns speaking.
Myron Hollister of Hartwell says gatherings should continue because the fight for systemic change is a marathon not a sprint.
"We have to outrun them and this is their full-time job, they are paid to do this," he says. "We are on the side of right so we must show up every, every day until they change these laws and convict these killer cops."
Hollister points out Cincinnati isn't immune to problems, citing the 2015 shooting death of Sam DuBose by then-University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing. Tensing was tried twice, both ending in mistrials. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters declined a third prosecution. A federal civil rights investigation continues.
(Video of Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate talking with protesters.)
One speaker who appeared to be coordinating use of the megaphone told the crowd, "We want a peaceful protest." Another speaker added "African Americans want a peaceful life."
Alexis Dicks of Madisonville addressed the crowd several times. As a young African American woman, she says she feels an obligation to join the protests.
"I worry about my dad being pulled over and something happening to him. I worry about my cousins when I'm out at night. When you see a victim's name on the news, it isn't just them, you think that that could have been your own family member, friend, teacher ... I'm tired of it and I'm tired of everything. I'm so tired of the mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. ... I'm tired of it."
Wearing matching white t-shirts bearing the name of the organization "Rebuild," which she and her children founded, Jacresha Jones of Hamilton was moved to tears as she took the bullhorn from her son and nephew, both of whom were emotional as they spoke.
She spoke of witnessing injustice and being arrested when she was the one who called the police. "We have to move forward as one," she told the crowd. "Today we need to love each other. ... I'm a correctional officer and every day I go in that prison (and) I talk to those young guys in there - white or black. I try to uplift them to get an education ... Here my voice across the nation, everybody's tired."
Speaking with WVXU afterward, Jones implored the world to change. "I feel like we can make it to the mountain top together."
From the courthouse, protesters moved on to Washington Park for more speeches then on to City Hall. An 8 p.m. curfew is in effect Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says he instituted the curfew at the request of Police Chief Eliot Isaac.
Police report 119 people were arrested Monday night and provided these demographics:
- 58 males
- 61 females
- 77 white
- 35 African American
- 7 who identified as "other"
Many who gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday were white. One woman carried a sign reading "I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand."
Volunteers are stationed outside the Hamilton County Justice Center to offer food, water, clothing aid and assistance with how to contact their public defenders. A woman working the booth told WVXU she's heard horrific stories from protestors being released from the jail, including rough treatment, denied use of bathrooms, and reports of seizures and hypothermia.
The following is a list of demands compiled by some of the protestors and provided to WVXU. A revised list is expected at some point.