As a Mayan funeral ceremony was performed Sunday afternoon where Tacoma police fatally shot Puyallup tribal member Jacqueline Salyers in January, an eagle circled above.
The dozens taking part in a Tacoma May Day march from the Sawyer Tot Lot in the South End to Tacoma Police Department headquarters all stopped and looked at the otherwise-clear sky.
“The eagle is a protector. It gives us strength,” tribal member Chester Earl told the group. “One has visited us at each of our rallies.”
Earl, Salyers’ second cousin and a Justice for Jackie spokesman, was emcee of the 1.5-mile march and protest that lasted for more than three hours. It went from South 34th Avenue and Sawyer Street — stopping near the site of Salyers’ fatal shooting — down and over to Ainsworth Street, onto 38th Street, crossing Interstate 5 before turning north on Pine Street to police headquarters.
Tacoma health care worker Sarah Morken, who is secretary of South Sound Jobs With Justice, was the person who put together the third Tacoma Rising march, which saw about 15 groups march together, co-opting one another’s causes.
“Justice for Jackie is justice for all,” Morken explained, citing the theme of the march. “Who are the police killing? Is it the bosses and the rich people? Who are they harrassing? The police harass striking workers. … They harass poor people and people of color primarily.”
Juan “Jose” Chavez of Redline Tacoma, an anti-methanol-plant group, was among the rally’s attendees. He met the Justice for Jackie group after their presentation at Tacoma City Council in April, and spoke for their cause at that meeting after hearing them speak.
“One of the justice things we want is police training on ethnicity, and I want to name it after Jackie, so she is never forgotten,” Chavez said.
Also at the rally were family members of Daniel Covarrubias, who was fatally shot by Lakewood police in April 2015.
Ahousaht First Nations member Pat John of Muckleshoot, who led singing of several indigenous songs at the event, also conducted a healing ceremony for Covarrubias’ daughter, Jalysha, who he “dusted” with an eagle feather to bless her and help her heal.
Puyallup Tribal Council member Sylvia Miller was among three tribal leaders at the rally. She wants an investigation done into Salyers’ shooting by Officer Scott Campbell, who returned to duty before the investigation was given to Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist for review.
“What if they would have found something?” Miller said. “Their process wasn’t even done and he was already back at work.”
Miller said the Tribal Council is preparing to sue the city over Salyers’ death “if that’s what it has to come to.”