Tyrone West, human rights, and #udhr2014

Update Type: 

This post is a part of the #udhr2014 campaign. Check out the campaign webpage for more info!

Tyrone West was pulled over for a traffic stop in Baltimore on July 18, 2013. After an altercation with police officers, Tyrone died. He was 44 years old. Tyrone's family is still waiting for details about the events of that evening. Every Wednesday since his death, Tyrone's family and friends have gathered for West Wednesdays - protests against police violence.

USHRN recently spoke with Tyrone's sister, Tawanda Jones, about losing her brother and how, since that day, she has advocated for victims of police violence everywhere. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was life like before Tyrone died?

To me, my life was perfect. Tyrone and I did so much together. A day didn't go by where we didn't communicate. When my brother was being murdered, I could feel the pain. I knew he was being murdered.

What was most difficult part of losing Tyrone?

Everything, but if I had to pick the saddest thing still happening - it's the lack of transparency from the police. 

What was it like when you first started advocating against police violence? 

I could barely speak when we first started "West Wednesdays" - I had to learn to turn my anger into passion in fighting for justice. Now, I speak for the ones that speak no more. Those killed by police.

In your time advocating and protesting, what has had the biggest effect on your life?

To see that our voices are being heard in Baltimore. I've met so many victims of police brutality. Now, we're pulling our voices together to talk about how police brutality is happening all over the city and across the country. Whenever we have protests, I talk about more than just my brother. I talk about all of the victims.

What are you looking forward to right now?

I'm looking forward to getting justice for my brother and justice for other victims of police brutality. I sent a letter to President Obama to let him know about all the people in Baltimore being killed. In response, I received a letter from the Department of Justice saying that Obama got in touch with them. They asked me to share all of the information I had on police violence in Baltimore. 

When you look into the future, what brings you the most hope?

I see a lot of laws being changed. It's already happening and it's only going to continue.