Police brutality march raises awareness

Christina Stavale

Ben Cohen, senior general studies major, leads a chant before the Kent Anti-Racist Action march against police brutality last night. LESLIE L. CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Yesterday’s annual march against police brutality hit home for those participating.

New Orleans native Greg Griffith was in Kent for the Anti-Racist Action National Conference this weekend. He was in his car on the side of West Elm Street with his engine running on Sunday when an officer of the Kent Police Department pulled up. He said the officer asked him what he was doing in a neighborhood under investigation for drug infestation and asked to search his car.

Griffith refused, and said police brought out a dog and threatened to break his windows if he did not comply. He said police claimed the dog smelled something suspicious, but after searching Griffith’s car, police found nothing.

Griffith said he was then arrested for obstructing police business. Kent city police were unavailable for comment about the situation.

“Every time I’ve come back to Kent, I’ve been stopped, ticketed or arrested,” Griffith said.

Participating in yesterday’s march on the national day against police brutality motivated him more to fight for his rights.

“It’s just another example of why I have to fight police abuse,” Griffith said. “That and racism go hand in hand.”

Sponsored by Kent State’s chapter of Anti-Racist Action, participants marched from the corner of Lincoln and Main streets to the Student Center, shouting, “Know justice, know peace. No racist police.”

Junior English major Kevin Lloyd said he’s heard about incidents of police brutality in Kent, and that it’s an important issue to address.

“People can die, first and foremost,” he said. “It’s important people understand their rights and protect themselves against a potential incident.”

Senior general studies major Ben Cohen spoke to participants before beginning the march.

“Police brutality is an epidemic in society, especially in people of color,” he said.

Students cheered as he asked them to “let nothing stop us,” and proceeded to march on.

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].