Group Protests What It Calls Police Brutality
(Memphis) Demonstrators in more than 200 cities around the world are taking part in “International Day of Action against Police Brutality.”
They are rallying, including here in Memphis.
People traveled to our city from all over, saying Memphis is one of the worst cities for police brutality.
“That’s why we bring the caskets here because they don’t want to take responsibility,” said Lorenzo Ervin who helped organize the event. “We will bring them down here and try to force them to take responsibility.”
The activists placed 13 caskets in front of Memphis City Hall, each one representing a person killed by police since January of last year.
Demonstrators say they didn’t have time to build number fourteen.
“They just killed the most recent person this past Sunday morning,” said Activist Jonina Ervin.
Police say they shot and killed 61-Year old Horace Whiting because he was drunk then fired his shotgun.
According to police, most of the shootings involving police have involved someone who pointed a gun at, or fired at, an officer.
Activists say the violent endings are happening way to often in our city.
People from as far away as Iowa, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio showed-up to the small rally.
Ben Turk drove nine hours to be there, “People need to get strong and defend themselves against this murderous police force.”
“We are here to say that police terrorism is not something that should be happening here in Memphis,” said Andrew Culp of Columbus, Ohio.
A coffee shop near City Hall expressed their views against the rally by posting a sign that they support the police department 110%.
Not everyone believes police are to blame for the number of deaths, instead point to criminals with guns.
“You don’t think that`s a reason why police shoot?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.
“We know that there is crime in Memphis. We don`t dispute that,” said Jonina Ervin. “But do police always have to shoot to kill?”
The answer from police is they shoot to stop the threat and the best way to do that is to shoot to kill.
Ervin says the answer is often difficult to find.
Questions still loom about the death of Justin Thompson, a teenager killed in September by an off-duty police officer, “The DA won`t release the information because she says its secret under the law. I don`t know if that is true or not. People want to know what happened. There is no transparency here.”
She says the numbers and the coffins are hard to ignore.