Veterans against cop brutality rally in Pittsburgh

By Terry Evans
August 17, 2020
Veterans Against Cop Brutality
Patti Gerhauser

“Veterans from different generations — from the Vietnam War, from the post 9/11 generation, joined the protest,” Aryanna Hunter, left, told the Militant  in a phone interview the day after an Aug. 2 demonstration she organized in Pittsburgh of Veterans for Black Lives.”

“Many of those attending saw and experienced racism in the military,” she said. “And when you look at the number of people killed by the police, you’ll find many are armed forces’ veterans, and this is often overlooked in press coverage.”

Some 25 people attended the protest against cop brutality, including veterans from “the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the Army, Black and white, men and women,” Hunter said.

She had organized a several hundred-strong protest against cop brutality in the small town of Murrysville where she lives outside Pittsburgh in June. “The number of folks turning out all across rural Pennsylvania is amazing,” she told the Pittsburgh Tribune  at that rally. “If we’re going to change anything we also have to show our neighbors that Black lives matter.”

As a 10 year old she had watched her own father, who is Black, “pinned down by police officers just like George Floyd was and put in the back of a police car on a minor marijuana charge.”

“It’s an atrocity that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor have not been arrested,” she said. Public actions have taken place around the country and internationally demanding the arrest and prosecution of the three cops who shot Taylor dead March 13. They used a “no-knock” warrant to break into her apartment, firing over 20 rounds and killing the emergency-room technician after her boyfriend had fired one bullet, suspecting a break-in at her home. The cops made no effort to get Taylor medical assistance in the five minutes that she lay dying.

“I joined the Army as an act of patriotism two months after 9/11,” Hunter said, serving in some of the first on-the-ground troop deployments to Iraq in 2003. “But even back then I didn’t support the Iraq War.”