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.
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.
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