What was called a “Demonstration Against Police Brutality” diverted from going to the Oklahoma Police Department Headquarters avoiding a confrontation Saturday night. Instead, demonstrators ended up in front of the Oklahoma County Annex Building.
The group formed up and demonstrated at the intersection of N.W. 23rd and Classen Boulevard crossing the street all four ways when the walk signs allowed and then marched to the Oklahoma County Annex building to protest “police brutality” and to vote out DA David Prater.
We talked to a couple of demonstrators before the action began.
Anna Littlejohn said that she has participated in several protests. Why? “It directly affects me and my family,” she said. “So, why wouldn’t I be out here? I’d rather be out here than at home, being angry about it.”
She’s disappointed in the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
“There’s barely any response at all and everything that they give is just vague and not backed by any type of statistics or research or detail.”
Littlejohn said that she doesn’t believe that the decision-makers really care about common working people except for “how we can profit for them for their own system.”
“If we’re working, they can make money off us that way,” she said.
Scott Gottfried is a regular since the first demonstration May 30. His signature big, red “46” former state flag of Oklahoma was waving in the gusting wind. Why does he keep coming out to these frequent demonstrations?
“You know, it’s just the nature of the situation that our community faces,” he said. “It’s the material conditions that are forced upon our community, that force us to make our voices heard in this way at this … constant kind of interval.”
At N.W. 10th and Classen one car hit one of the participants, Aaron Wilder, who was trying to guard the march by standing in the intersection with his bike motioning for cars to take a different route.
But one driver didn’t like it.
“I saw him shake his head no and then he accelerated through my bike and knocked me on the ground. Luckily he knocked me far enough to be away from his tires as he peeled out,” Wilder told Free Press in a message.
Unidentified armed group
The group then moved down Classen and turned left onto 4th.
But once they got close to Shartel and 4th someone scouting for the group called and told them about armed persons at the police station.
Leaders stopped the group and rerouted to a spot in front of the Oklahoma County Courthouse Annex instead of the Oklahoma City Police Department Headquarters.
Just the week before they held a peaceful rally without conflict or damage to the building or grounds.
But, a group of about 15 – 20, most with sidearms and wearing ballistic vests, posted up on the corners of the block where the Headquarters sits. It appeared they were intending to confront the demonstrators.
No police were seen outside the Headquarters where the armed counter-demonstrators were gathered. Last week we reported that there were no police present during the peaceful, unarmed rally.
However, one big difference between this week and last week was that the OCPD helicopter was in the air circling the demonstrators most of the way. And, we observed a group of patrol cars gathered in an empty lot one block away from the demonstrators at one point. It gave the appearance that the police anticipated conflict from the beginning.
The group heard speeches from several people in front of the Annex and marched back uptown where they were either greeted with silence or cheers. They continued up Walker and back over to 23rd and Classen without incident.