Students hold protest demanding justice for those killed by police brutality

Tori Duff

Editor’s Note: Two sources within this story, Andrea and J, are identified using false names due to fear of repercussions for protesting police violence. 

TW: Discussions of police brutality

Student activist group Cops Off Campus held a march beginning at the UT Tower and going through campus Monday night to demand justice for Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and other people of color who have died from police brutality.

Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white veteran police officer during a traffic stop on April 11, sparking protests in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Daunte was pulled over for having expired registration and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. 

Last Wednesday evening, Cops Off Campus held their first vigil for Daunte.

On March 29, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was fatally shot while being chased down an alley by officer Eric Stillman, who claimed Adam was in possession of a gun. 

Cops Off Campus is an anonymous campus group that seeks the removal of all police presence from the UT campus and disapproves of the UT Board of Regents funding a new UT Police Department satellite office, which will increase police presence in West Campus. The group says events like this are why they campaign for a removal of police.

“We can’t keep looking at these daily deaths in isolation, as if they aren’t connected to each other in a whole system of policing,” said a protestor who identified as J. “At some point we have to recognize a pattern here. … After all this, there are people who keep saying that we need to give cops the benefit of the doubt. It says one of two things: either they haven’t been paying attention, or they just don’t care about Black lives and other victims of police brutality.”

During the protest, activists spoke at the Tower about their purpose and mission to organize the group before marching toward Speedway. 

Protestors also marched to the Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy building. This building was originally named after Robert Lee Moore, a professor who was historically racist toward Black students. Multiple group members said they were  frustrated that the University has not changed  these names quickly, despite calls for action from students.

“It is either all of us or none of us (who advocate together), it is either those who are for revolution or against revolution,” said Andrea, a protestor who led part of the protest. “So when we fight for revolution, when we have solidarity and it’s not just in words and in hashtags.”

Following this, protestors marched down the middle of Dean Keeton Street toward the location where UTPD is establishing a satellite office, bearing signs and chanting phrases such as, “Say his name! What name?” “No justice, no peace” and “How do you spell racist? UTPD.”

Protestors spoke out against the establishment of the satellite office and said investing money and resources into the satellite office does not make anyone feel safer.

“We’re here for all the victims of police brutality that have been taken from us by the police,” J said. “Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Breonna Taylor and so many more. We want justice, and we know that in the system we live in the only way we will ever get justice is if we fight for it. … We know too many stories of Black people being murdered with no repercussions.”