National Activists on Police Issues Start Tour at Site of Tamir Rice Shooting

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By Joanna Richards

National and local activists against police violence kicked off a tour in Cleveland today to promote what they say will be a big protest in New York City in October.

A little over a dozen activists gathered outside Cudell Recreation Center, where a picnic table covered with stuffed animals has stood as a memorial since November.

Local activist Turner Fair explained why Cleveland was chosen as the national tour’s first stop. 

"This is the spot where many officers have not been indicted for the murders of people – one person being a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who died at this very spot."

A police officer shot Rice after he was seen waving a realistic looking toy gun.

New York-based activist Carl Dix co-organized the tour, along with the well-known academic and activist Cornel West. Dix linked Cleveland’s police use-of-force issues to a broader picture.

"I mean, look, we could just unfold a map of the United States, and throw a dart up in the air and let it come down, and it will come down where police have brutalized, murdered people," he said.

A woman from Detroit and a man from New York City told personal stories about relatives killed by police, along with Brenda Bickerstaff, whose brother Craig was killed by Cleveland officers in 2002.

The tour heads next to Chicago and then to Ferguson, Missouri, but Dix and other activists say they’ll stay in Cleveland through the weekend, to take part in a protest tomorrow, and a conference on race and police issues at Cleveland State University.

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