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Protest demands justice for Brian Quinones

By Ted Mika |
October 27, 2019
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Justice for Brian Quinones protesters block light rail train in Minneapolis
Justice for Brian Quinones protesters block light rail train in downtown Minneapolis. (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - Activists rallied then took to the streets, October 25, blocking light rail, dodging police, and delaying rush hour traffic to demand justice and transparency in the police murder of Brian Quinones.

Quinones was a father, a husband, a rapper, and a beloved member of the community. He was gunned down by five police officers in September. Officers waited only one second after shouting commands at Quinones before firing multiple rounds. After the shots dropped Brian to the ground, the officers inexplicably fired another set of bullets at his body.

Protesters demanded transparency from the cities of Richfield and Edina, whose officers shot Quinones. Both cities had committed to release video to the family and the public on October 23. Both cities backed out on their commitment to release the video to the public. Only Edina honored the commitment to allow the family to view their video.

Protesters also demanded the officers involved in the shooting be fired and charged. Less than a month after Quinones’ killing, all officers were back on the job. Quinones’ friends and family spoke of the fear they feel for themselves and their children, knowing his killers are on the streets of their community carrying guns and badges.

Families of police victims struggle to obtain not just dash and body camera video, but public information such as police records. The family of Isak Aden, who was murdered by police in Eagan in July, has been working with the Quinones family to get information and justice. Both families have had data requests ignored and illegally refused by cities whose officers were involved in their shootings.

County attorneys regularly demand cities withhold information from families - information that would help make the case for prosecution of killer cops - until after the decision has been made to not prosecute. The Quinones and Aden families encountered this again at an Apply Valley city council meeting this week.

Only two officers have ever been charged for killing a civilian in Minnesota. There have been 25 people killed by Minnesota police since this time last year.

Ashley Quinones, Brian’s wife, said at the rally, “These deaths do not allow families to grieve. We immediately have to go seek justice for our loved ones.”

Ashley quoted Malcom X, regarding the media pattern of repeating the police narrative about police killings while diminishing the voices of family members and protesters, “This is the media. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim, and victim look like he’s the criminal. If you are not careful, the media will have you hating the people that are being oppressed and loving the people that are doing the oppressing.”

Chara Blanch, a friend of the Quinones family, said, “Police are taught to fear people of brown and black skin. That is why these families have lost their loved ones.”

Dinni Aden, brother of Isak Aden who was murdered in July, said, “In Isak’s incident, over 90 officers were called. In Brian’s, over 100. I thought Isak’s situation will never happen to anyone in Minnesota again…and two months later, it was Brian.”

Sam Martinez, of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, spoke of the need for local and national police accountability, “It needs to be a national movement for police accountability; so, we will be joining activists for the re-founding of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The National Alliance was the organization that worked to free Angela Davis.” The National Alliance conference is November 22 -24 in Chicago and will include family members of victims police brutality and activists from across the country.

In addition to the Aden family, other family members of police murder attended to support the family, including Zaida Henry, sister of Dontaylo Wright; Jeanette Blevins, aunt of Thurman Blevins; Toshira Garraway Allen, partner of Justin Teigen; and Monique Cullars Doty, aunt of Marcus Golden.

The protest began with a rally outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where County Attorney Mike Freeman – notorious for never charging an officer in a police shooting until a white woman was shot by a Black cop – has his office.

Brian’s music played over the speakers as the rally began. After chants, speakers and a march the blocked downtown trains and traffic, the group returned to the starting point for the Assata chant then dispersed.