One ended up in jail. Another in the hospital. Here, they share what happened.
By: Samantha Michaels | Mother Jones
It has not ended. Last month, the police in Akron, Ohio, fatally shot Jayland Walker dozens of times after a traffic stop. A family mourned. Protests followed.
For Bianca Austin and Jacob Blake Sr., the shooting brought back bad memories. Austin’s niece was Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old woman who was fatally shot during a botched police raid on her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020. Blake’s son Jacob Blake Jr. famously survived a police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, months later.
Since then, Austin and Blake Sr. have become close friends and colleagues, forming an organization called Families United that seeks to support people who have lost loved ones to police violence. They’ve traveled all over the country, protesting with and consoling relatives and friends of Daunte Wright, Cameron Lamb, and others.
After Walker’s death, they traveled to Akron, once again trying to help. But when they arrived, things did not go as planned. During a peaceful protest on July 6, the police attacked their friend and fellow activist Michael Harris, punching him repeatedly in the face. When Jacob Blake Sr. tried to intervene, the police turned on him, landing him in a hospital. Police also arrested Austin and her Families United colleague Cortez Rice, charging them with rioting, engaging in disorderly conduct, and failing to disperse. (They deny the allegations.)
Last week, after Blake Sr. and Austin were discharged from the hospital and jail, Walker’s family invited them to attend the funeral. The next day, the duo video-called me from their car in Akron, along with Harris and Cortez, to share what they experienced at the protests.
“I was terrified and in shock at what was taking place,” Austin told me.
Read the full article on MotherJones.com.