etween 6:30 and 7:30 pm on Tuesday April 14th, Madison Police officers at the intersection of East Washington and 4th Street arrested more than ten peaceful protestors. Roughly 35 people, mostly youth remained in the intersection after a day-long protest, for which residents shut down East Washington for several hours to demand justice for Tony Robinson and as a part of a national action against police violence and mass incarceration. As the young people continued to sit in the intersection, 30-40 officers approached the group from the west, spanning both sides of East Washington. The officers approached the youth telling them they had 5 minutes to leave before they would be arrested. While the youth deliberated as to whether they would take arrests, the police ambushed the group. Officers arrested three people initially, Jivonte Lee Davis, Mary Jo Walters and another protestor.
They subsequently approached Leslie Amsterdam (Peterson), a member of the media, who was recording the arrests. They told her to move, and when she revealed herself as a member of the media, they destroyed her camera and forcibly arrested her. The remaining youth then decided that since they could not be in the street without being arrested, they would march legally in the crosswalks across East Washington during the light changes. After roughly an hour, they were caught in the median during a light change. Two adults, Adeyemi Balogun and Brandi Grayson attempted to protect the youth from the police.
“They grabbed Brandi and dragged her, so I grabbed her,” reported Balogun. “Then they jumped on me. They came up behind me and grabbed my neck. Then another cop grabbed me and they had me wrapped up. They just kept saying ‘stop resisting, stop resisting!’ But I wasn’t doing anything.” Grayson was violently thrown to the ground and then drug along the ground before she was arrested. Balogun along with approximately six more people, including youth, were arrested at that time. Marnie Schroeder, another arrested person described the scene: “He [CJ Terrell] wasn’t talking, wasn’t doing anything and they slammed him to the ground. They had their knee on his neck and his face in the dirt. I tried to put my hand under his face to protect it, but then they arrested me.” Community members are outraged but unsurprised by this gross display of state power by MPD. “This is a clear example of the state violence we have been talking about for months,” said Grayson. “They brutalized me, and they arrested our babies who were mourning and protesting against the police violence that led to the murder of their friend, Tony Robinson.”