The shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer sparked protests and riots in a St. Louis suburb. The incident has raised questions about excessive force by police against minorities.More >
The shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer sparked protests and riots in a St. Louis suburb. The incident and its fallout have raised questions about excessive force by police against minorities and the militarization of America's law enforcement.More >
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
People from around the country and in Kansas City planned to peacefully protest Thursday by holding a moment of silence in the wake of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown's death, who was shot by a police officer.
It set off demonstrations and a strong response from police.
The movement started on social media and is taking off in the metro.
The event was held at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain near the Country Club Plaza and began at 7 p.m.
A moment of silence for Ferguson, MO, was held at 7:20 p.m.
"St. Louis is a neighbor of ours. I wanted to stand in solidarity with them," rally organizer Amber Stewart said. "Let them know that the people of Kansas City understand their pain and are looking out for them. We wanted to have this vigil so people can have a chance to grieve. Often times it is hard for the black community to grieve, so I really just wanted us to have an outlet to call for peace and to call for justice."
Stewart encouraged people to make signs and posters with the names of people who they say have been killed by police using excessive force over the last 15 to 20 years.
Organizers say they were holding the event in hopes of shedding light on police brutality. They planned to stand in solidarity with residents of Ferguson, but not in a violent fashion.
"I really just wanted us to have an outlet to call for peace and to call for justice," Stewart said. "I'm very disappointed in the police force in Ferguson. I wish they would desist. We have peaceful protestors. We have the right to organize. I wish they would let the community grieve. I don't think it is fair. I don't think it is right at all."
Michael Muhammad was one of many who showed up early to the event. He said he hopes one thing comes out of the rally.
"Unity. Being able to evaluate things with the wise decision and facts and base their facts and move from there. I think that what's happening in Ferguson is a microcosm of the macro to where we here in Kansas City and abroad can sit down and dial up and analyze things ourselves and bring community relations back to where they need to be," Muhammad said.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte and Mayor Sly James both said they didn't expect the rally to descend into chaos.
"I have a great deal of faith in our police chief and what he's done to try to make his police department more responsive to the community, so that's what I'm hoping happens here. People will make their opinions heard, but they do so in a way that allows people to actually listen, as opposed to being distracted by the violence that may erupt on the edges," James said.
Organizers expected a host of speakers to address the crowd, particularly community leaders and people affected by police brutality or harassment.
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UPDATEKansas Citians rally in moment of silence for Michael BrownMore>>
Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night. More >
Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd.More >