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Demonstrators March In Raleigh To Protest Police Violence

Updated at 10:32 a.m. Aug. 29, 2020

Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh Friday night to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans. Protesters marched peacefully for about three hours carrying signs with slogans including "Abolish the Police" and "Black Lives Matter." Many gathered after the Wake County District Attorney earlier in the week announced that a Raleigh police officer will not face any charges for the killing of a Black man in January.

District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Thursday that the use of force by Officer W.B. Tapscott was lawful because he believed his life was in danger.

Protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh in support of Keith Collins and against police brutality Friday night.
Credit Via RM Ferguson Funeral Service
Protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh in support of Keith Collins and against police brutality Friday night.

Keith Collins, 52, pointed what appeared to be a gun at Tapscott before the officer opened fire, according to the report from the district attorney. A preliminary report from the Raleigh Police Department in February said Collins was holding a BB gun.

The district attorney's report says Collins collapsed, and tried getting back up and pointed his weapon at the officer again. According to the report, Tapscott fired several more times and repeatedly ordered Collins to drop the weapon. The officer shot at Collins a total of 11 times.

Protest leaders Friday night retold Collins' story and demanded police be held accountable for his death. What started as a peaceful protest turned tense at about 9:30 p.m. Protesters used umbrellas to block journalists from filming and taking pictures, and at least two people in the crowd fought.

Protesters stopped in front of the county jail and some threw paint at the front entrance and sprayed graffiti.

The protests were also in reaction to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in front of his three sons by a police officer in Kenosha, WI.

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin declared a 10 p.m. curfew for Friday and Saturday nights in anticipation of protests.

Earlier in the day, business owners along Fayetteville Street erected plywood over windows, and crews worked to protect the Wells Fargo Capitol Center. Baldwin said it was a precautionary measure and she hoped the curfew would prevent any damage of downtown buildings.

At a press conference Friday, Collins’ mother Gloria Mayo called for justice, but also asked for peaceful protests after the officer was cleared of any charges.

"I don't want protesters to be going downtown, tearing up Raleigh," she said. "The people downtown with the stores and the businesses and stuff, they didn't kill Keith. Tapscott killed Keith. Now he's going back to work and my son is dead."

In the wake of the Wake County decision, the NAACP of Raleigh-Apex is calling for new legislation that would require non-powdered guns such as paintball or airsoft guns to be brightly colored and easily identifiable by police.

The group's President Gerald Givens says the culture surrounding guns in Americans has to change.

 

"Between our society as civilians, as well as law enforcement, we're putting too much confidence in guns and not in ourselves and not in each other,” said Givens.

The civil rights organization says they are in conversations with state leaders regarding this proposal. 

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

A man burns an American flag during a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
A man burns an American flag during a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.

Hundreds of protesters gather in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
Hundreds of protesters gather in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.

A protester blocks the face of another protester, while he spray paints a message on a door in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020. Hundred of people came out to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
A protester blocks the face of another protester, while he spray paints a message on a door in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020. Hundred of people came out to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans.

A protester kicks a barricade while others march through the streets of downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020. Hundreds gathered to denounce police violence.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
A protester kicks a barricade while others march through the streets of downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020. Hundreds gathered to denounce police violence.

Protesters block a camera crew during a march through downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
Protesters block a camera crew during a march through downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.

A trash fire burns on a street in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Credit Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
A trash fire burns on a street in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.

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Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denouce police violence and the recent deaths of Black Americans.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
Protesters marched through the streets of downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020 to denouce police violence and the recent deaths of Black Americans.

Yakob Lemma attended a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
Yakob Lemma attended a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.

Orlando "Lando" Parker Jr., 38, attended a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC
Orlando "Lando" Parker Jr., 38, attended a protest in downtown Raleigh on Friday, August 28, 2020.