The March Continues: Huntsville protestors say they see no change in the city one year later
“Huntsville’s a great city, but leadership continues to let people down,”
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - June 3 marks one year since a protest in Huntsville ended with authorities using tear gas to break up crowds and 19 arrests. Now, “The March Continues” protest is being held on the same date, one year later.
Black Lives Matter Huntsville founder Keith Young says today’s protest was not originally supposed to happen or be as large as it is planned to be. But, Young says recent controversies with the Huntsville Police department have energized protestors.
The Rosa Parks Day Committee actually sent an official letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into the Huntsville Police Department. Committee spokesman David Person says events from the last 12 months, starting with the police reaction to last year’s protest, led up to the demonstration.
”We certainly hope the police will not assemble as a militarized force tonight or anytime that people gather with the intent to peacefully protest. You know we’re not against policing, we’re against bad policing. We’re not against police officers, we’re against police officers that are taking actions that represent the antithesis of what they are supposed to be doing which is to protect and serve,” said Person.
Activist Brenden Lewis was one of the main organizers of last year’s protest. Lewis says what happened last year was shocking, but the outcome did not discourage protesters.
Lewis says over the past year, the conviction of Huntsville police officer William Darby, and recent video showing another officer stomping on Kemontae Hobbs has fueled participation in the latest protest.
“We definitely just want the message to get across that there’s a bunch of concerned citizens. Not just the citizens of Huntsville, but citizens of the United States just wanting accountability from the police in our country and accountability from the leaders in our city and we just want our voices to be heard, we want to be respected, we want accountability, and we want change in this city because we know it can happen. We have the tools and we have the people. Huntsville’s a great city, but leadership continues to let people down,” said Lewis.
Young says what happened last year scared many people.
”I won’t lie, I had nightmares for a few weeks afterward. I don’t like to admit that or really talk about it too much, but it was all the stuff you saw, things you never thought would happen to people around you, women and kids and stuff, and it was just really terrifying for lack of a better word,” said Young.
Young says above all, they want change in the city.
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