Sirens ‘closely tied to police violence and oppression against [black people],’ organizer says
University of Pittsburgh students recently protested the killing of a black male by black cops by using police sirens.
Five black police officers beat up Tyre Nichols, a black Memphis male, in early January and he ultimately died as a result of the confrontation.
The Jan. 29 protesters at Pitt used police sirens because they have been used “for generations” to “intimidate black people,” an organizer of the event told The College Fix recently via social media messaging.
“I played the sirens because for generations that sound has been closely tied to police violence and oppression against our people,” Santana Dominguez told The Fix. “And I wanted to signal to them and the world that we will no longer allow them to intimidate us via they’re violence or intimidation tactics.”
“We as a people have to have the courage to confront the system and be able to move past the fear of them and their system and I was letting them know that they have to be [a part] of the change as well,” Dominiguez told The Fix.
BREAKING: right now Pitt students gather at the intersection of Forbes & Oakland Ave. to protest the wrongful death of Tyre Nichols and demand accountability from the justice system to properly prosecute the cops involved. Covering for @ThePittNews #TyreNichols #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/V8OT0GfZ26
— Punya Bhasin (@Punya_Bhasin) January 29, 2023
“The police system is a racist system that has targeted our people since the beginning,” Dominguez said further in his comments. “Tyre Nichols was killed by police officers at the end of the day. All of them being black does not diminish the claim that the system built by white people is racist.”
The campus Black Action Society released a statement that also said that Nichols’ death was a result of racism. The death showed “systemic racism at peak operation,” according to the group.
However, immediately prior to accusing the officers of participating in “systemic racism,” the BAS wrote that “police-member community violence against Black people is not solely about race.”
The student activists did not respond to a media inquiry from The Fix asking it to further explain what the group meant.
The Fix asked Dominiguez if he considered the black officers responsible to be racist, at which point the student activist ended the interview.
About 50 people joined in the protest on January 29, according to The Pitt News.
“Protestors gave speeches, marched down Forbes and took a knee for three minutes to symbolize how long police officers beat Nichols,” the campus newspaper reported.
“We are here today because another Black brother, son, friend, student, scholar, has been slain,” Dominguez said at the rally. “We are here today not only rallying in support of Tyre Nichols’ family but in protest because we are not satisfied.”
“We are not satisfied with the police system, we are not satisfied with the daily mistreatment of our people and we are not satisfied with the justice system,” he said.
IMAGE: Punya Bhasin/Twitter