Washington DC — Outrage over the death of two men while in confrontations with police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota brought around 200 people to the front entrance of the White House to voice frustration and call for change.
“Policing in our communities is getting out of hand a lot of senseless acts of murder are happening every day and we just need it to stop,” said Chris Jackson, a protester who heard about the rally on Facebook.
His friend Jerry Lightfoot said watching the press conference following Alton Sterling’s death in Louisiana and seeing his son break down in tears drove him to be a part of the rally.
“That really hurt me,” said Lightfoot. “I was at work all day yesterday and I could hardly do anything.”
Both would like to see a change in police training so that the black community doesn’t feel defensive when dealing with police.
“I feel it has to be a calmer interaction not just on behalf of the people who get pulled over but with the law enforcement as well,” said Lightfoot. "We all have families we want to return home to at night."
Sonja Burketh made a sign for the protest and shared a live broadcast to her social media followers from Pennsylvania Ave.
She said she didn’t think with President Barack Obama in the White House she’d be calling for more action by the government and police.
“I thought we were done with this, “said Burketh. “If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be in DC dealing with the continual issues that have been plaguing black people I would have told them it was a lie— we’ve come too far.”
The rally was organized by the activist group Black Lives Matter that formed after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.