Cops and person lying on ground next to a car with a fire truck

On Saturday May 4, the night of the Columbus Blue Jackets game and Gallery Hop in the Short North, the Coalition to Free Masonique Saunders blocked off the intersection at Buttles Avenue and North High Street for 90 minutes. Their goal was to stop the flow of capital to raise awareness about Columbus Police’s murder of Julius Tate Jr. and the false felony murder and aggravated robbery charges on Masonique Saunders. The Coalition wants people to pack the court at 9am on Thursday, May 9 to prevent Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien from trying Saunders, the falsely charged 17-year-old, as an adult.

Kaiya Gordon, Lainie Rini, and Margie Sarsfield, three out of the four people arrested, drove into the intersection and stopped their car. The police pepper-sprayed the activists near the car and used their bikes to push others onto the sidewalks. Rini and Sarsfield were attached to the car to prevent the cops from towing the vehicle with them in it.

While being brutally pulled, pepper sprayed, and denied medical care, Rini was shouting, “Let go. You’re hurting me. My eyes are burning.”

As the cops attempted to move the car out of the intersection, Dkéama Alexis, a member of Coalition to Free Masonique and founder of Black Queer Intersectional Columbus, stated demands to release Saunders immediately, to release the records that Tate’s family requested, and to start an independent investigation into Tate’s murder.

“Officer Eric Richards was rewarded SWAT officer of the year. He just got rewarded for killing a black child,” said Alexis. “We are sick and tired of the racist police terror in our communities in destroying black life, in killing and caging black youth. We are sick and we are tired and we won’t stop until Masonique is free.”

Jenny Boedecker was the fourth activist arrested and was targeted by the police while walking away from the action. The police use arrests as a means to destabilize communities and prevent protests. Alexis has organized a bail fund:

To help Saunders’ mom with legal fees, donate: