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Carmichael denounces killer cops: 1968 | by Washington Area Spark
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Carmichael denounces killer cops: 1968

Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) speaks at the New School for Afro American Thought at 2218 14th Street NW October 8, 1968 denouncing the police killing of 22-year-old Elijah Bennett who was slain after being stopped for a jaywalking violation at 14th and & Streets NW earlier in the afternoon.


Carmichael was chair of the D.C. Black United Front at the time.


Following speeches at the school, the crowd that numbered perhaps 200 marched to the intersection of 14th and T Streets where they engaged in jaywalking en masse.


Joined by a growing crowd, some threw bricks and bottles--breaking windows and clashing with police. Police dispersed the crowd by midnight.


This was the third disturbance on 14th Street in 1968. The first was the reaction to the shooting death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April The second occurred in June after the Resurrection City of the Poor People’s Campaign was razed The fourth would occur in November when a police officer fired his pistol wounding two black women on 14th Street NW


A Washington Post article following Bennett’s death found that he was the 17th to be shot to death by police since January 1, 1967.


Of the 17 killed, 13 were black and four were white. White officers were responsible for 15 of the shootings deaths. No policeman was indicted for homicide in any of the cases, although a coroner’s jury issued a non-binding finding of willful homicide in one instance.


A similar study conducted in the 1930s by the Communist Party’s Daily Worker found that D.C. police killed an average of five every year for a 10-year period. Most victims were black and none of the police were prosecuted. The article prompted a five-year campaign against police brutality in the city.


For a blog post on the 1936-41 campaign see,


For more information and related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is courtesy of the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.

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Taken on October 8, 1968