The Black Lives Matter movement continues to take on both big and small, though equally important, targets. Last month a Black Lives Matter activist at a private fundraiser confronted Hillary Clinton for calling black children "super-predators." Last night Black Lives Matter protesters took over an Upright Citizens Brigade stand-up comedy show in New York City to protest the death of a 16-year-old black girl who died in police custody earlier this year.
Vulture reports Black Lives Matter group NYC Shut It Down stormed the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre East's "Nat Towsen's Downtown Variety Hour" almost at the end of comedian Tyler Richardson's set on March 7. After Richardson and the audience heard a rumbling outside "dozens" of protesters filled up the UCB theatre, with nine protesters getting on stage. Richardson told Vulture about his encounter with one of the protesters saying: "I put my hand on his chest like, 'You're not going to take my microphone,' and he let it go." The protesters began to read off from posters they were holding stating facts about 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen's death in a Kentucky jail cell. Richardson, who is black, said he was "shocked" he didn't know about McMillen.
Gynnya McMillen died on Jan. 11. According to CBS News, McMillen was put in a martial arts during one night at the detention center. One morning McMillen was discovered dead in her cell. On the day of her death staff didn't check on McMillen for almost four hours. An investigation into McMillen's death would reveal a juvenile center employee allegedly faked reports stating he had checked in on her every 15 minutes as is required. Has since been put on leave for that and previous "disciplinary actions."
NYC Shut It Down member Keegan Stephan told Vulture, "Very rarely are we targeting an establishment for their involvement in police brutality. We go into establishments to disrupt the status quo. In this case we didn't know how it would go, and it went really well."
That day the group also protested at a New York City Whole Foods, a Strand Bookstore, and Katz deli. One of the march organizers Cleo Jeffryes was skeptical about the audience's response at the UCB theater since it was "mainly white males." "The audience was mainly white males, so we were kind of like, 'Hmm, it could go either way,'" said Jeffryes. "But when we asked them to, every single person raised their fist. I was shocked."
A coroner has said the martial arts restraint didn't cause McMillen's death. An investigation is still ongoing.