Protesters mourn Eric Garner


Several people marched around the Pentacrest on Thursday night, encouraging the crowd and leading them in chants including “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” and “A Badge is not a License to Kill.”

“This is an American problem,” University of Iowa senior Kyra Seay said. “It’s not a Ferguson problem. It’s not a black people problem.”

Approximately 200 people gathered in a half circle to protest the recent grand-jury decisions that some link to police brutality.

This week, a judge dropped a felony charge against the officer who was accused of killing 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit. On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury decided to not indict the officer who was accused of killing Eric Garner, an African American who lived in New York.

Wednesday’s decision fueled this most recent protest in Iowa City, in which citizens emphasized that all black lives matter and that racism in the police forces needs to stop.

“People are acting because we’re sick and tired,” Seay said. “We’re here because it happens all over the nation. It’s an international movement. I’m here to ask — no, I’m done asking. I’m here to demand change.”

Seay garnered attention from the crowd members by informing them about a movement called #DecemberDial, which is aimed at ending injustice in the actions of police forces.

The Iowa City police have been asked to allocate $100,000 to create change.

That change involves hiring officials to oversee the actions of officers who are out on the field as well as funding continuous training rather than training that happens only every few years.

Seay also encouraged the crowd to call the Iowa City police every day in December to push for these changes and continue demanding change.

At the time of the protest, Seay said, approximately 40 people had committed to calling the department every day.

UI graduate student Anna Swanson said that when she heard about the issue, she felt “disgust, deep sadness, anger, and a feeling of uncertainty” about what she could do.

“I feel like my job here is to listen and repeat back,” she said.

UI freshman Nakia Gary said it’s important to make this issue prevalent to people all around the world.

“It’s important for racism to stop,” she said. “It’s unfair to the families of the people the cops are taking from them, and it’s unfair to young people who are full of ambition but whose lives are being taken.”

In addition to chants and speeches, some protesters could also be seen holding signs to express their disappointment in the American police system.

“It’s disgusting,” Iowa City resident Melissa Bertling said. “[I’m going to] continue protesting until something is done.”

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