HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Protesters gathered on University Drive near Memorial Drive Monday to seek justice for Haraesheo Rice. Some said they also wanted to bring attention to mental health funding cuts.
Four Huntsville police officers are returning to work this week after they were placed on administrative leave after Rice was killed in an officer-involved shooting. Rice was shot and killed on Sept. 20 after officers say he pointed a gun at them after he killed another man at a northwest Huntsville home.
Rice had a mental illness and was suing the Madison County Sheriff's Office. Rice claimed corrections officers violated his constitutional rights by allegedly attacking him in jail in 2015.
Protestors say the mental health system failed Rice. That includes the pastor of a local church who helped organize Monday's protest.
"You know, sometimes I think we get mixed up with the issues that happened but we don't know why they happened. Being diagnosed schizophrenic but nothing was ever done but him being brutalized, not helped," said Charles Rodgers, pastor of Hope Community Church.
Protestors had signs and chanted, "We're not anti-police. We're anti-police brutality" and "Release the tape. Release the video."
Some protestors said they want to see the body cam footage of their incident with Rice.
"I think our community needs to see us. When the issues come up, we tend to deflect them instead of confront them. These people are serious about making a difference. They came out here simply to say, 'We want justice.' And we're tired of our people being ignored when the issues are clear," Rodgers said.
WAFF 48 News reached out to the Huntsville Police Department, who said a shooting review board will be happening in the next week or so. At that time, they'll release whatever conclusions they draw from that regarding the ongoing investigation.
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