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Osagie Protestors Lie in Front of State College Municipal Building During Arts Fest

by on July 13, 2019 6:21 PM

A group of about 10-15 members of the 3.20 Coalition gathered in front of the State College Municipal Building  during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on Saturday afternoon to protest the police shooting death of Osaze Osagie in March and subsequent response by law enforcement and local government.

Melanie Morrison, a 3.20 Coalition member, said the protestors were there to “make a powerful statement regarding the inaction of borough officials and police since Osaze’s murder.” Osagie, 29, was shot and killed on March 20 by a State College police officer. The officer was one of three who came to his Old Boalsburg Road apartment to try to serve Osagie with a mental health warrant when Osagie came at them with a steak knife in a narrow hallway.

Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna determined the three responding officers’ use of force was justified in the incident because they were in a “life-and-death situation.”

Melanie Morrison speaks during a protest outside the State College Municipal Building on July 13, 2019. Photo by Mikey Mandarino | Onward State

“The voices of the community are being ignored, and the world needs to hear our cries,” Morrison added. “They are ignoring us in the hopes the general public will forget and life can move on.”

 

 

Members of the coalition have called for the officers involved to be publicly identified, fired and charged. They have also asked for a community oversight and review board for police and other measures for addressing racial bias in the community. 

State College Borough is currently in the process of forming an expansive task force to address issues of mental health services, race and policing raised by Osagie's death.

This isn’t the first time protestors have gathered to support Osagie. On May 8 — the day Cantorna’s investigation into the incident was released — protestors blocked College Ave. and caused a temporary suspension of the campus shuttle service.

There was also a lie-in protest at the State College Borough Council meeting on April 8 as protestors demanded “Justice for Osaze Osagie.” The protestors delivered an itemized list of demands, which included firing the officers involved and full transparency of the event to the Osagie family, to those who attended the meeting.

Community members also have continued to speak out at other borough council meetings and at a community conversation on mental health services spurred by Osagie's death.

The 3.20 Coalition is comprised of members from several community justice organization. It was created to fight for justice in Osagie’s shooting death and to “enable/maintain accountability and transparency from our law enforcement, especially in regard to policing communities of color,” according to a press release.

A protestor lies on the ground outside the State College Municipal Building on July 13, 2019. Photo by Mikey Mandarino | Onward State



Mikey Mandarino is a staff writer for Onward State.
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