Peaceful Protesters Were Met With Hostility, Violence on State
Wide Day of Action for Police Accountability

#RiseUpWA

Local Businesses in Bellingham, WA support #BlackLivesMatter

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Peaceful Protesters Were Met With Hostility, Violence on State Wide Day of Action for Police Accountability
#RiseUpWA

Bellingham, WA- In solidarity with other communities throughout Washington, individuals in Bellingham came out for a peaceful procession on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 3:00pm to call for police accountability, to bring an end to the dangerous practice of racial profiling, and to recognize people who fell victim to police brutality, causing injury or death.

Community activists, leaders for social justice, well-known and respected, strong community voices for racial justice gathered in front of the Bellingham Police Department and proceeded to peacefully march in the streets of downtown Bellingham, later ending the march back at the police station. Though they completed the march, the community activists were harassed by a number of violent and hostile citizens.

Some bystanders heckled and shouted at the people in the march. At one point, a couple stopped their vehicle behind the demonstration and continually honked their horn. The passenger, a white male, jumped out, yelled, assaulted, and battered the participants of the march. The attacker acted as though he could assault the community activists, which included several people of color, without fear of legal consequences. He also tried to steal the property and phone of Maru Villalpando (who was recording the attack) and demonstrated a threat of extreme physical violence. The driver of the vehicle, a white female, continually honked her horn while aggressively inching her vehicle forward, threatening to hit the participants of the march. She eventually rammed several people. Respectfully, the community activists did not physically engage with this couple even though they received a number of injuries including a sprained finger, a dislocated shoulder, and numerous bruises. Despite the hostile and violent attack, the community activists continued to march on. Toward the end of the demonstration, a man, openly carrying a firearm on his side, confronted the community activists.

Police deployed a large presence downtown, near specific businesses, apparently to protect those businesses from being disrupted. Later, the police were seen directing traffic behind the march and in the former location where the community activists were assaulted by the white couple. The police did not come to the aid of the community activists during the attack, or at any other time, even though they were aware and ready for the demonstration. Why is it that the Bellingham Police Department chose not to protect participants of the march in this violent and dangerous circumstance? It could be concluded that there is a double standard in regards to protecting people in our community. It was apparent that the BPD was more concerned with protecting the motorists and businesses, rather than protecting community activists from hostile engagements.

These events happened in broad daylight in downtown Bellingham. The question remains, how does law enforcement treat marginalized people when not under public scrutiny, when they did not even afford protection to community activists and leaders in this situation?

This was the experience on a day of peaceful action, in “subdued” Bellingham that calls itself progressive. The acts of hostility and violence by white antagonists against community activists in broad daylight and the decision by the Bellingham Police Department to protect white motorists and businesses, rather than those community activists are symptoms of the white supremacy that pervade Bellingham. The Bellingham Police Department’s demonstration of racial bias has been brought to the attention of Mayor Kelli Linville on more than one occasion. Community leaders feel a greater impetus to struggle for basic rights and freedoms. Therefore, community leaders vow more actions and demands for accountability and an end to racial profiling, in the future.

(A video of the assault has been posted on the Racial Justice Coalition website for media purposes only.)

Community Members In Solidarity,

Beth Brownfield
Dena Jensen
Karen Price
Tim Surratt
Deauna Davis
Kaelan Gilman
Jamie Donaldson
Lynn Rosenblum
Liisa Wale
Tina McKim
Elma Burnham
Sawyer Gaia
Stephanie Sisson
Miriam Ball
Neah Monteiro
Reese Semanko
Christie Castagna
Keely Sandoz
Winter Tuesday
Andrew Eckles
Richard Jehn

####

Peaceful Protesters Were Met With Hostility, Violence on State
Wide Day of Action for Police Accountability

#RiseUpWA

Local Businesses in Bellingham, WA support #BlackLivesMatter

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Peaceful Protesters Were Met With Hostility, Violence on State Wide Day of Action for Police Accountability
#RiseUpWA

Bellingham, WA- In solidarity with other communities throughout Washington, individuals in Bellingham came out for a peaceful procession on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 3:00pm to call for police accountability, to bring an end to the dangerous practice of racial profiling, and to recognize people who fell victim to police brutality, causing injury or death.

Community activists, leaders for social justice, well-known and respected, strong community voices for racial justice gathered in front of the Bellingham Police Department and proceeded to peacefully march in the streets of downtown Bellingham, later ending the march back at the police station. Though they completed the march, the community activists were harassed by a number of violent and hostile citizens.

Some bystanders heckled and shouted at the people in the march. At one point, a couple stopped their vehicle behind the demonstration and continually honked their horn. The passenger, a white male, jumped out, yelled, assaulted, and battered the participants of the march. The attacker acted as though he could assault the community activists, which included several people of color, without fear of legal consequences. He also tried to steal the property and phone of Maru Villalpando (who was recording the attack) and demonstrated a threat of extreme physical violence. The driver of the vehicle, a white female, continually honked her horn while aggressively inching her vehicle forward, threatening to hit the participants of the march. She eventually rammed several people. Respectfully, the community activists did not physically engage with this couple even though they received a number of injuries including a sprained finger, a dislocated shoulder, and numerous bruises. Despite the hostile and violent attack, the community activists continued to march on. Toward the end of the demonstration, a man, openly carrying a firearm on his side, confronted the community activists.

Police deployed a large presence downtown, near specific businesses, apparently to protect those businesses from being disrupted. Later, the police were seen directing traffic behind the march and in the former location where the community activists were assaulted by the white couple. The police did not come to the aid of the community activists during the attack, or at any other time, even though they were aware and ready for the demonstration. Why is it that the Bellingham Police Department chose not to protect participants of the march in this violent and dangerous circumstance? It could be concluded that there is a double standard in regards to protecting people in our community. It was apparent that the BPD was more concerned with protecting the motorists and businesses, rather than protecting community activists from hostile engagements.

These events happened in broad daylight in downtown Bellingham. The question remains, how does law enforcement treat marginalized people when not under public scrutiny, when they did not even afford protection to community activists and leaders in this situation?

This was the experience on a day of peaceful action, in “subdued” Bellingham that calls itself progressive. The acts of hostility and violence by white antagonists against community activists in broad daylight and the decision by the Bellingham Police Department to protect white motorists and businesses, rather than those community activists are symptoms of the white supremacy that pervade Bellingham. The Bellingham Police Department’s demonstration of racial bias has been brought to the attention of Mayor Kelli Linville on more than one occasion. Community leaders feel a greater impetus to struggle for basic rights and freedoms. Therefore, community leaders vow more actions and demands for accountability and an end to racial profiling, in the future.

Community Members In Solidarity,

Beth Brownfield
Dena Jensen
Karen Price
Tim Surratt
Deauna Davis
Kaelan Gilman
Jamie Donaldson
Lynn Rosenblum
Liisa Wale
Tina McKim
Elma Burnham
Sawyer Gaia
Stephanie Sisson
Miriam Ball
Neah Monteiro
Reese Semanko
Christie Castagna
Keely Sandoz
Winter Tuesday
Andrew Eckles
Richard Jehn

####