Hundreds Rally Against Police Brutality
LANSING -- When the clock hit 7:20 p.m., everything stopped. Heads dropped while hands raised high. No one said a word.
Hundreds of people in Lansing stood silent -- just as people in more than 100 cities across the country did, protesting what they say is police brutality and honoring the victims whose lives they say it has taken.
"I'm just so outraged at the photographs I've seen and what's going on," said Candice Wilmore, 66, who lives in Lansing. "Not just in Missouri, but in the last few months so many things."
Wilmore refers to days of violence and protests in the city of Ferguson, after an 18-year-old black man was shot multiple times by a white police officer. He later died of his injuries.
"Too easily we could be the next Ferguson, Missouri," said Alicia Hicks, who helped organize the rally. "Easily it could happen right here on our streets in our neighborhoods, to our brothers, to our sisters, to our cousins, to our goddaughters, to our aunts and uncles and anybody that we love."
A social worker started the idea, which spread quickly through social media.
"I think it's time to start doing something about the police brutality against minority people specifically," said Darnell Holmes. "It could absolutely happen here. It could happen anywhere."
People of all races came out to make their voices heard.
Tracee Craft brought her four-year-old son.
"I don't want him to be a target," Craft said. "He needs to know the truth and I think education and awareness is where we need to start."
Bishop David Maxwell, the pastor at Eliezer Temple Church on Lansing's west side, says the incident in Ferguson has become part of an institutional and systemic mistreatment of blacks by police.
"It is a fact in our American society," he said. "It's not just a local or regional thing. And the rally of course gives people the opportunity to express their concern, express their frustration."
Maxwell says it is a positive thing when rallies and protests bring issues to the nation's attention, but they have to keep it peaceful.
"Violence is absolutely unacceptable," he said. "It won't produce anything but more violence and more tragedy. But people have a right and they should speak out and it should be brought to the attention of the powers that be that there are problems."
Maxwell commended the City of Lansing for working closely with the community, calling the police department "diversified and sensitive to these kinds of problems."