El Paso shows solidarity for Mike Brown

Protestors+gather+in+front+of+El+Paso+County+Court+House+downtown.+

Michaela Román

Protestors gather in front of El Paso County Court House downtown.

Kimberly Valle

Maria Esquinca, Staff Reporter

Protest signs defiantly raised in the air, El Pasoan’s rallied in solidarity for Michael Brown in front of the county courthouse.

The rally is one of many happening across the country after Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, was not indicted by a grand jury in Ferguson, Miss.

The group of about 50 to 80 fronted the cold wind. Some splashed their posters with red paint to mimic blood and express their rage for the death of Michael Brown.

“There’s been a huge problem with police brutality all across the nation, and yes race is an issue,” said Joshua Dagna, UTEP graduate and local protestor. “A lot of black people tend to get marginalized… just because of the fact that they’re black.”

According to a recent 2012 report on the extrajudicial killing of black people, every 28 hours a black person was killed by a security officer. An estimated 313 African Americans were fatally killed by police officers, security officers or self-appointed vigilantes without legal authority.

“I believe that everybody should be able to go out to a convenience store without having to be worried about being shot,” said Andrea Kuny, former UTEP student and protestor.

Protestors felt the decision not to indict Wilson was not fair.

“Yesterday the grand jury was supposed to decide whether this case deserved to go to trial,” said Lulu Ortiz, senior sociology major at Yale University. “The problem is that usually indictments are very easy to get. There wasn’t a trial, they weren’t even given a chance to fight for that.”

According to data by the Bureau of Justice Statistics most grand juries decide on indictment. In the 162,500 cases prosecuted by U.S. attorneys from 2009 to 2010, grand juries voted not to indict 11.

However, a Houston Chronicle Investigation revealed that police officers are less likely to get indicted. In Harris County, Texas, grand juries have not indicted a police officer since 2004.

“I think it’s not fair, I think it’s not right, I think it’s unjust,” said Shayla Alves, senior graphic design major. “It was rare for there not to be an indictment but Ferguson did it anyway, why? Because racism.”

Adriano Perez, senior biology major and community organizer, organized the rally in El Paso after he found out on Tumblr that there wasn’t a protest planned in El Paso, despite several happening throughout the country.

The Tumblr site also listed a protest happening in Norway and Puerto Rico.

“Our voices can be heard,” Perez said. “It’s important to create a precedent for an event to show that we can come together and that we can make a difference.”

The El Paso protestors also marched to and walked around the Police station near the county courthouse while shouting, “Hands up don’t shoot.”

“We are here for Mike Brown,” said Alves.

Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected]

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