Anti-police brutality movements from two communities-one being Mexico, where 43 student activists are missing-converged on the 451 Grand Avenue sidewalk where a city resident was gunned down by an East Haven officer 18 years ago yesterday.
The rally and march-staged to honor Malik Jones on the anniversary of his death-marked not only a look back but a step forward for his mother, Emma Jones, a life-long civil rights activist whose journey began with the events memorialized in the 2014 film Selma.
Jones was only a child when riot cops attacked her and fellow marchers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but the effort would eventually land Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s movement in Washington D.C., where her civil rights case against the East Haven Police Department is now headed.
Jones announced that she will be making a second attempt to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear her case-launched in the aftermath of the April 14, 1997 killing. Lower level courts have sided with Jones, who claims that her son was a being racially profiled when Officer Robert Flodquist attempted to pull him over, but successful appeals by the East Haven Police Department and municipality have nullified the damages that were awarded to her.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a petition she filed two years ago.
“If the Supreme Court refuses to hear my cry for justice, if the country is not willing to do it, we are headed to the world court,” Jones told the group of supporters gathered at 451 Grand Avenue. “That’s what Malcolm said. We can’t find justice in the United States, we go to the United Nations. We do whatever we have to do, but we continue this struggle until we have won.”
They’re not at the United Nations, but an anti-police brutality movement from Guerrero, Mexico-where 43 student activists from a college teaching program in Ayotzinapa have disappeared
-came to the rally with a message that they are trying to make global. Clemente Rodriguez Moreno is just one of the parents demanding the return of their kids-his son, Cristen, is among those missing-who they suspect were kidnapped by police officers colluding with Mexican drug cartels.
The Mexican government has denied those claims, alleging that the missing students were murdered, but their parents aren’t buying it. The students were reportedly apprehended by authorities around the time they disappeared.
“We want justice,” Moreno said. “We’re going to keep fighting, because we feel our children are still alive.”
The group has been traveling around the United States telling their story, and will be at events in New Haven and Hartford through Thursday.
“The things that are happening in this country are happening also in Mexico,” said Felipe De La Cruz, a member of the group. “There, the police assassinate young students.”
In their case, nothing is yet certain, and the incident surrounding Malik’s death has been described in varying accounts as well.
Whether her son’s killing was another example of that is something Jones hopes the Supreme Court will decide.
“If this case is heard, and East Haven is found liable, this case can be used as case law all around the nation when any of our brothers and sisters are gunned down by the people we pay our taxes to,” said Kerry Ellington, a local anti-police brutality activist.
The march route ran from 451 Grand Avenue, across State Street and up Chapel Street. Activists finished with a community meeting on police brutality was held at the Afro-American Cultural Center on Park Street
“It is not a struggle for short-term sprinters,” Jones said. “It is a struggle for long-term runners, and if you can’t commit, then we are just having an event, and we are not here to just have an event.”