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Community and religious leaders protest police brutality, call for accountability

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 12:16:33-04

BALTIMORE — Faith based leaders, community activists and demonstrators gathered outside the federal courthouse Monday to protest the death of George Floyd and denounce police brutality in the city and across the nation.

“It’s sad that we have to be here again five years later protesting the same thing,” Ray Kelly with Citizens Policing Project.

The organization attracted 100 demonstrators, community leaders and activists, many of them demanding more accountability from law enforcement, including the Baltimore City Police Department.

Looking around at the large group gathered outside the federal courthouse demonstrator Jenee Harrison told WMAR- 2 News she felt a sense of community.

“It gives me hope,” she said. “We’re all out here for the same thing. I feel like cops need more training. I think we need to reform the Police system, like not just here in Baltimore but everywhere in America.”

Organizer Reverend Marvin McKenstry told demonstrators the need to hold leaders and law enforcement is important more now than ever. He encouraged people to continue the work well after protests die down.

“We call on everybody with purpose to go beyond these protests, these demonstrations and events. We call on everybody with purpose to go beyond these protests, these demonstrations and events,” said Rev. McKenstry. "Get in the movement, seven days a week finding some sort of way to bring an end to social injustice.”

Fighting for justice and racial equality is activist Tawanda Jones. Jones has been on the front line of the movement since her brother Tyron West died in July 2013 while in Baltimore City Police custody.

“2,503 days,” Jones shouted. “I countdown everyday for accountability. We have no time to negotiate when it comes to hate.”

CPP and its supports said accountability is the theme of this upcoming term for officials, specifically through Baltimore City’s Descent Decree.

“The court is serious about getting this done," said Ray Kelly. "We are damn sure tired and ready to get this done. We have to make sure our representation gets this done over the next four years.”

WMAR 2 News reached out to the Baltimore City Police Department regarding the protest and demonstrators’ convents.

In a statement a department spokesperson said:

“For the last three years, the Baltimore Police Department has continued to make progress in its effort of reform the department by focusing on building community trust, addressing disparities and becoming a more equitable, transparent and accountable department. We have reviewed the letter by the Citizens Policing Project and agree on many of the requests, some of which the department is actively enacting. The department continues to move forward in implementing comprehensive reforms that serves and protects the civil and constitutional rights of Baltimore City residents.”