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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Black balloons meant to stir conversation on police violence

The+display+features+victims+of+police+brutality%2C+including+Darrien+Hunt.
Photo by Shelby Knowles

The display features victims of police brutality, including Darrien Hunt.

Nineteen black balloons and one red balloon adorned Rudder Plaza Monday afternoon. The balloons, attached to posters of those who have been killed or critically injured by police, stood as reminders to passers by.
Members of the Texas A&M chapter of the NAACP set up the display, entitled “Call to Action,” after the popular hashtag. Christal-Joy Turner, psychology senior, said the point of the display was to educate and start discussions about police brutality, particularly in light of recent unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.
“I hope [people] have an actual civil dialect with someone saying, ‘Oh, this is what’s going on, and this is what I think,’” Turner said. “It’s a healthy conversation because it needs to happen. People just say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about it, it’s too risky,’ but it’s a conversation that needs to happen. Something needs to happen so this kind of stuff does not keep happening.”
Turner said one of the faces on the poster, a victim of local police brutality, proves that the issue transcends boundaries, racial or otherwise.
Kendal Gallimore, business management sophomore and NAACP member, said police brutality isn’t just a black issue. 
“This is an all-race issue that we need to be talking about and it is going to start with conversations about dialogue that isn’t necessarily going to be comfortable to talk about, but it needs to be talked about because if people remain silent to it then they’re basically saying, ‘It’s okay for this to happen,’” Gallimore said. “And of course this isn’t okay for 19 people to be dead and one person to still be living — we want all of them to still be living.”
Gallimore said these conversations are needed to make strides for justice equality and change the way police handle delicate situations.
Passerby and philosophy freshman Scott Luce said he was interested in the display because he was curious to find out more about the situation, which he said seems to be happening more often lately.
“I definitely found out that it is more rampant than I’ve been led to believe,” Luce said. “There’s only about four, maybe five of these individuals that I’ve read about, either on Facebook posts or seen on news broadcasts involving them, but it looks like it’s more widespread of an issue than I was originally led to believe.” 
Luce said, to a certain extent, people authorize police officers’ use of deadly force to protect citizens and themselves, but said there is still confusion as to at what point the citizens should get the same protection. 
“At what point do you move beyond serving and protecting to controlling and manipulating?” Luce said. “I think that these are a lot of the people who ended up on the wrong side of the line of controlling and manipulating.”
Ming Soh, civil engineering senior, said he was curious about the posters when he saw the balloons attached to each poster and stopped to read more about them. 
“People are fed up with the abuse of power, that sort of thing,” Soh said. “It happens everywhere. Most of these people I have not seen other than Freddie Gray and Michael Brown. Some of their stories show misuse of power — a chokehold, that’s too much.”

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  • The display features victims of police brutality, including Rumain Brisbon.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
  • The display features victims of police brutality, including Michael Brown.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
  • Civil engineering senior Ming Han Soh reads the Call to Action display on Monday afternoon.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
  • Environmental studies senior Andrew Goins was one of a number of students who gathered around the Call to Action display.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
  • The display features victims of police brutality, including Freddie Gray.

    Photo by Shelby Knowles
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