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23 Oct, 2013 13:25

'They treat us like animals!' Dozens of US cities unite in protests against police brutality

Dozens of cities across the US have seen a national day of protest against police brutality. Organizers stated that thousands of people were killed in crackdowns over the last couple of decades, and police aren’t held accountable for the violence.

All across the US people united to protest police violence in rallies. While some protests were peaceful, others saw violent clashes with police.

The demonstrators in Seattle burned flags, and the police had to disperse fights between the protesters and the anarchists who seemed to have taken advantage of the situation. 

Protestors burn an American Flag during the Oct 22 Police brutality protest on Capitol Hill @kiro7pic.twitter.com/dkGbqXHWSc

— Gary Horcher (@GaryHorcher) October 23, 2013

In Los Angeles, an angry mob stopped traffic across the city as part of the protest.

New York saw a largely peaceful rally, though activists expressed their outrage at continuing police violence.

“It’s not a gentle thing how they treat us, they treat us like animals, and that’s completely unwarranted, literally, unwarranted,” a young protester told RT.

Organizers have documented cases of what they call the Stolen Lives project: over the past decades, thousands of lives have been blighted and destroyed in protests brutally suppressed by police.

There are few statistics available on police misconduct, the latest traced in 2010. Then, the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project recorded 4,861 unique reports of police misconduct that involved 6,613 sworn law enforcement officers and 6,826 alleged victims, the organization’s website stated.

The activists say most of the cases have been underreported or brushed aside.

“Hundreds every year are killed by the police, and the majority of them are unarmed, not involved in any criminal activity when they were killed. And also the majority of them were young, and either black or Latino,” Carl Dix, representative for ‘October 22 Coalition’ tom stop police brutality, indicated to RT.  

The activists are also bothered about the fact that the representation of the killed or imprisoned protesters may be too far from the real state of things.

“The mass media are very good at propaganda, so a lot of people are under the impression that people who have been stopped and frisked and are being gunned down are somehow criminals,” activist Gil Barosa told RT. 

RT@OccupyWallSt Today -nat'l day of action against #policebrutality. Find events here - http://t.co/esZe9NH8As#O22pic.twitter.com/JabGVqOcYp

— Barbara Upton (@upton1144) October 22, 2013

What bothers the activists most is the lack of accountability on gun violence, police brutality, and unlawful killings that occur at the hands of law enforcement authorities. They say the justice system continues to neglect violent cases, not doing anything to improve the current system.

“You have to go through hell and high water just to get a conviction of an officer. And what he’s convicted for doesn’t meet the crime that he’s accused of committing. And if he winds up not being found guilty, even if he’s convicted, he gets out on good behavior after serving minimal time,” Danette Chavis, mother of an alleged police brutality victim pointed out to RT.

Last year a number of incidents involving police violence caused massive public outrage.

Just over a month ago, a video emerged showing New York police using heavy-handed tactics while detaining students protesting against former CIA chief David Petraeus becoming a university professor. 

What happened  to Cassandra Feuerstein, 47, from Chicago, is just one notorious example of police brutality. It became public after a CCTV video from the cell Feuerstein was being held in was obtained by her attorney, Torreya Hamilton.

Feuerstein, arrested on suspicion of DUI, reportedly asked to call her husband and children. Officer Michael Hart called her out of the cell. Less than 10 seconds later, the video shows Feuerstein being pushed back into the cell, where she hits the bench face-first.

The video shows Feuerstein collapsing on the floor, and her face is seen bruised and bloodied, with alleged fractures in several places.

Israel Hernandez-Llach, a prominent artist of Colombian origin, died in August after Miami Beach police shot him in the chest with a stun gun – for spray-painting an unused McDonalds restaurant.

In July, the Illinois police, armed with tasers, flexible batons, a shotgun, “bean bag” rounds and a riot shield, shot John Wrana, a 95-year-old resident of an assisted living facility, eventually killing him.

In May, David Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, died at the hands of the police in Bakersfield, California.