More than 20 people showed up to a vigil hosted by Bloomington Young Democratic Socialists of America on Saturday in Peoples Park for a Bloomington man who died after a police chase.
Malik Ali Malik, 39, died on April 17th, after a high-speed pursuit by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Malik’s car collided with a tree and then caught on fire, according to The Herald-Times.
At the beginning of the vigil, people held signs that said “Release the body camera footage” and “Rest in power, Malik.” Friends and family of Malik then shared their favorite memories of him and emphasized the importance of getting body camera footage from the incident.
“There’s no viewing the body. There’s no saying goodbye to him,” Barbara Dorman, mother of Malik’s children, said in a speech. “The body was burned beyond recognition.”
Dorman said she wants the body camera footage released to know if officers tried to help Mailk get out of the burning car.
Dorman believes people need to know if the Monroe County Sheriff’s department is protecting everyone and treating people’s lives equally, she said.
Bradi Heaberlin, a YDSA member and organizer for the vigil, said police officers should have de-escalated the situation instead of initiating a high-speed chase.
Heaberlin said that Malik’s death was avoidable and that police need to be held accountable.
“There needs to be less policing of black communities and black men in particular,” Heaberlin said.
The vigil marched down Kirkwood Avenue chanting that the body camera footage needs to be released and that Black lives matter. The vigil stopped briefly near the Monroe County Courthouse and then marched back on Seventh Street towards Peoples Park.
Beyonce Smiley is not Malik’s biological daughter, but she said Malik had been her father figure since she was three years old. Smiley said that Malik sent her voice messages every day and was always checking on her.
“He treated me like his daughter,” Smiley said. “Whenever I had a problem, I would reach out to him because he was my protector.”
Smiley said it’s important to get the bodycam footage because she wants to know why Malik didn’t get help when he was in the burning car. She said police should protect people more than they hurt them.
There are many questions that need to be answered and getting the bodycam footage would give answers, Smiley said.
Smiley said she urges everyone to email the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and demand that the bodycam footage from Malik’s death is released.