When Frederick United arrived at the Baker Park Bandshell on Saturday for our protest, the first thing that felt off was the presence of two cops right in front of the stage.
When one team member tried approaching them and asking them if there was a threat or something we should know about, they simply shook their heads. When our DJ arrived, he immediately noticed that they had turned the power off. Frederick police Lt. John Corbett claimed that the power was always supposed to be off at the bandshell, yet for four successive months of protests, the bandshell’s power has been left on.
We managed to scramble and find a generator so the event could go on, but Frederick hurt us much less than the vulnerable communities that rely on the power: The homeless community. They need the power to charge their devices and stay in touch with family and friends.
Frederick inconvenienced us but actively oppressed Frederick’s homeless community for whom the bandshell is a lifeline.
After the two officers realized that we were not going away and not shutting up, they took things a step further: They announced through a plastic cone that they were no longer blocking off the street for our march, which the police had done for every protest thus far and that those who blocked traffic would be subject to criminal charges.
They told us we needed a permit, except there are no permits available for Baker Park at the moment because of the coronavirus crisis. But racial inequities don’t disappear because of a virus. In fact, they have gotten worse. We marched on the sidewalk until the already closed-off portion of downtown, with as many as 20 cops trailing us all the way, including when a man tried to shove one of our protesters to the ground. The police saw it happen and did nothing, even when we tried to get them to file a report. That leaves us wondering, justice for who?
Joel Lev-Tov, Kristen Lundy, James T. Aung, Madeleine Tison-Orrell, Brian Bowers, Erica Dickerson, Bianca Eaves, Dylan Cooley, Fiona Botwin, Brandie Hall, Alicia Rodriguez
The signers are all members of Frederick United and residents of Frederick