After a peaceful march to Rodney Square in late October, and another march to the Wilmington Police Station last month demanding Chief Bobby Cummings’ ouster, friends and supporters of Jeremy ‘Bam’ McDole upped the ante with an unpermitted march up Market Street, tying up traffic and disrupting businesses during lunch hour on Monday January 4th.
McDole was a paraplegic who was shot at least 15 times by police at the end of September. The police say he would not drop his gun. But critics and supporters say that he never had one, and the shooting has exacerbated tension between Wilmington’s African-American community and the police.
It wasn’t like some of the raucous clashes that we’ve seen on television and social media in cities where other high profile shootings have stirred demonstrations, but the increased anger and hostility towards the Wilmington Police is part of a steady drumbeat of bad news for the city. The TV show “Murdertown USA” should be airing sometime this year, bringing back the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
I spoke with other African-American activists who say they expect more people to show up on MLK day, Mon., Jan. 18th, when McDole supporters and other groups like “302 Guns Down” and “Black Lives Matter” will join together for more marching and civil disobedience to draw attention to what they say is McDole’s “execution.”
The video of last week’s protest demonstrates how volatile this case could get, with arguments between onlookers and demonstrators, and attempts to provoke the police. The Williams administration has come under fire for its handling of violent crime and lack of accountability, and they seem unable or indifferent to getting out in front of this in an election year. No one will accuse Williams of PR manipulation.
Instead, as you can see in the video, when the head of the mayor’s security detail, Anthony Easterling, pulls up to the City-County building in the mayor’s black SUV, he starts beeping the horn for the protestors who are gathered in the street to get out of the way, and then gets out of the vehicle after his mirror apparently hits one of the women. He then angrily accuses the group of hitting him, which maybe they did, as I was only on one side of the vehicle. He gave me the middle finger as he drove away. It will be interesting how the administration reacts to further demonstrations and protests without overreacting and causing more negative press.
 At the beginning of the video a man in a pink shirt with an uncanny resemblance to acerbic 1980s loudmouth talk-show host Morton Downey Jr, angrily accuses one of the protestors to be more concerned with black on black crime – that organizing and directing anger towards the police is a tiny part of the violence that is ripping their community apart. The man in the SUV arguing back is the family’s attorney Billy Murphy. This interaction crystalizes the divide between white and black communities and Jonathan Wilson speaks to this at the end of the video.