Peaceful rally in Columbia calls for justice for Michael Brown
The local chapter of the NAACP sponsored a rally Thursday in support of Michael Brown's family. The rally took place at the amphitheater next to the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia.
More than a hundred Missourians of many races took part in the demonstration, which lasted about two hours. Organizers say the rally was meant to raise awareness for justice for Michael Brown and to stop police brutality in Missouri. Not a police officer was in sight at the peaceful rally that brought together people from all over the state.
The gathering started with Grassroots Organizing Executive Director Robin Acree leading chants calling for "justice now" and saying "this is what democracy looks like."
While at the rally, Acree ran into an old friend, Diana "Scoots" Isom. The two have been friends since the fourth grade.
"We grew up together," Isom started. "Actually we broke a racial divide. Because in fourth grade, and I love me some Scoots, Scotts sang and was fun, and whatever. And her mama and my mama, you know had to have a conversation, because I wanted to invite all my friends to my party so my black girlfriends got to come and we've been friends the whole time, and I love her," Acree said. "We sure have, slept in the same bed and everything," Isom added. "And we didn't get no cooties or anything," Acree said.
Dominicque Ellis was a participant in the rally, handing out bottles of water to audience members on the hot night. He said it was great for him to see youth support.
"We are the people most affect, when law enforcement is enforcing the law, or supposed to be enforcing the law, it's typically a demographic of about 16 to about 30 years old that are dealing with. We are the people they police," Ellis said.
He added that it is important for police to record their interactions with people they come across.
"What we would like to see is police officers required to wear audio and video recording," Ellis said.
The Columbia Police Department enacted a policy requiring all police officers to wear a body camera while on duty. Ferguson Police do not wear any recording devices.
Acree said that for now, people can go to City Hall and raise their concerns to City Council and the Citizen's Police Review Board.