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Protestors rally against police brutality in wake of Michael Brown shooting

Ashley Hirtzel

A small group of protesters with Push Buffalo gathered outside U.S. Attorney William Hochul’s office in downtown Buffalo Monday. The rally was part of the National Day of Action to call for justice for slain Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown.

PUSH Buffalo Community Organizing Director Jennifer Mecozzi-Rivera says the group is calling on the Department of Justice and various lawmakers to work together to put an end to police violence.

Protesters wore signs that read “Hands up don’t shoot” in response to 18-year old Brown being shot by an officer Darren Wilson on August, 9th.The peaceful rally was part of a nationwide effort calling for police to be held accountable for their actions and put an end to militarized policing.

“Make a change. Make a difference. Politics are really what’s screwing up this country when it comes to the realization of young people, black, brown, white, whatever being murdered in the streets. This can’t happen anymore,” said Mecozzi-Rivera.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Protestor demonstrates the focus of the peaceful rally.

The group plans to deliver letters to U.S. Attorney Hochul this week asking for police departments to be more transparent, require cameras inside stations and keep records regarding racial disparities in stops, arrests, and excessive force complaints. They’re also asking for immediate suspension without pay for law enforcement officers that have used or approved excessive force. Additionally, they would like the names of the officers and policing history made public.

Protestor Linda Smith says Brown’s death should be a wakeup call for what’s happening across the country.

“There’s a lot of police brutality out there that doesn’t even get reported. I see it a lot when they’re arresting somebody, pushing somebody around, pushing them into the car. If they’re already in handcuffs, that should be the end of it. If they’re handcuffed it should be done and over with, in the car and downtown. They should not be pushed. They should not be shoved. I have to be held accountable for the things that I do and my actions have consequences, their actions should also have consequences,” said Smith.

Protestor Timothy Ramirez says he believes something needs to be done before it gets worse.

“The people who are supposed to be protecting us are now abusing us and that is what I would like to see stopped,” said Ramirez.

The rallies will continue with another set to take place in Niagara Square on Thursday, August 28th.