Press Release: Black Lives Matter 757 Plan to Shut Down the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach for Matthew Rushin and Other Victims

It was Black Lives Matter 757 who first picked up advocacy for Matthew Rushin, the Black autistic 20-year-old (now 22) college student sentenced to 50 years for a car accident.

Since then, organizers and activists from BLM 757 have continued to make the case for and advocate for Matthew Rushin in city hall meetings, rallies, demonstrations, and press releases. Despite dangerous police interference and multiple unlawful arrests of organizers and peaceful protestors, they once again will put their safety on the line to demand justice.

They have also continued their advocacy for Black autistic lives by standing up for and participating in the international #OsimeMatters call to action, standing with the autistic community after Miami PD engaged in a dehumanizing public display of ableism:

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Today marks 100 days since George Floyd was murdered under the knee of violent police brutality. This weekend, on Saturday, September 5, BLM757 will be holding a march in Virginia Beach. The event, named Shut Down the Oceanfront 3.0, will be to stand up and ask for Justice for Matthew Rushin and others identified in the following press release:

#Day100 – Today marks our 100th day of solidarity and organizing in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Saturday will mark five years since the death of Navy veteran India Kager by Virginia Beach SWAT. Local lawmakers have all but ignored Black organizers, and more specifically the city of Virginia Beach has ignored us or willfully obstructed our attempts to be heard.

Virginia Beach Police are responsible for the murder of Demario Joyner, whom they shot in the back of the head. Demario’s dignity was further stripped when his body was left lying on a fence for over 6 hours. Demario was only 17 and an honor student.

Virginia Beach SWAT team is responsible for the assassination of unarmed NAVY Veteran India Kager, who had her car shot up with over 30 bullets with her 4-month-old son in the back seat.

Virginia Beach police and the judicial system are responsible for criminalizing a Black Autistic male by the name of Matthew Rushin for a non-fatal car accident. Even though he admitted losing consciousness, he was denied medical treatment and denied bond to prevent him from seeing a doctor. A neurologist would have exonerated Matthew Rushin by identifying what is likely a seizure disorder. He is now serving ten years of a 50-year sentence for being disabled and autistic.

The Virginia Beach Judicial system has arrested and over-sentenced Champ Turner. Champ is in prison for being violently assaulted and calling the Virginia Beach Police. Judge Shockley is on court transcripts saying, “I don’t know why, how, or what happened […] I’m finding you guilty.” Mr. Turner was attacked by an extremely large white man who appeared to be experiencing a mental health crisis. He defended himself to save his life. Today, his attacker is free without consequence while Champ is in prison for ten years.

Six months ago, Virginia Beach police fatally shot Alvin Baum, a 23-year-old who was being served a warrant for missing a court date for a simple possession charge. His family still haven’t received answers. His father said, “For them to be police officers serving a warrant, it doesn’t take [twelve] times to shoot a person. It almost feels like it was just target practice.” Police still haven’t released body cam footage.

Virginia Beach Police have also been caught on video violently arresting peaceful protesters this summer, stepping into the path of protestors then claiming to have been assaulted by marchers trying to step away from them. Assault on an officer is a felony with a six month mandatory minimum sentence. VBPD have shot tear gas and brought full military-style tanks to a PEACEFUL protest. It is for these reasons that they should be demilitarized.

Virginia Beach City Government has stonewalled and ignored our demands for a full disclosure citizens review board with subpoena power. Virginia Beach Police Department continues to harass the Black & Brown citizens it is charged to protect and have countless acts of unresolved incidents of police brutality.

Virginia Beach Police also do not have ANY Black people in their highest ranks. Virginia Beach Police take full advantage of qualified immunity. Virginia Beach judicial system repeatedly obstructs justice by denying Freedom of Information Act requests for body cam footage, 911 calls, and other records which would exonerate innocent Black victims of police misconduct. Appeals are instantly rejected after harsh sentences are doled out.

Colin Stolle, the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney, and Ken Stolle, the sheriff, are brothers. They occupy the two highest ranks of law enforcement in the city. Among Ken Stolle’s top campaign donors are for-profit prison vendors. They financially benefit from the incarceration of Black lives.

It is for all of these and many other reasons that we are calling for the full dismantling and defunding of the Virginia Beach Police Department. A complete overhaul is much past due.

We will be shutting down the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Saturday, September 5th, at 7:57pm to call for justice for Black lives lost or wrongfully incarcerated and for a more equitable future for Black citizens of Virginia Beach.

3 Comments

  1. I believe we can run ourselves, like an actual democracy, with no federal scumbags

  2. Sharing and spreading far and wide. Well done prepare for battle! Matthew needs us as does Osime now more than ever. The stronger we are now the less this cold Administration can invalidate our realities. Autistic BIPOC visibility brings notice to the shameful way in which all Autistics are treated. #FREE Matthew Rushin

  3. Against that judicial system, you need, everyone caught up in it needs, a development that ends the primitive easily abused easily corrupted power of final decisions, and makes all decisions at all levels faultable on their reasoning. courtchange.wordpress.com/the-court-change-or-the-non-finality-situation/ with subpage showing it applies to the US.

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