ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — It was supposed to be a day of protest against police violence, but it turned into a hostile discussion between the protest organizers and the protestors.
Rochelle Ritchie explains what changed.READ MORE: Baltimore Police Stepping Up Deployment On Fourth Of July Weekend, Commissioner Says
Many protestors thought their voices were going to be heard. Instead, they took to the streets of Baltimore.
Dozens of people filed into the judiciary committee ready to speak their mind on police violence. The crowd was so large, it overflowed into the hallway.
“Officers have additional rights and privileges that common citizens don’t have and we found that these privileges have been abused and stymied investigations when it comes to cases dealing with police misconduct and corruption,” one man said.
The group traveled from Baltimore all the way to Annapolis, thinking they would all get a chance to voice their concerns. But that was only for a select few–like Tawonda Jones–the sister of Tyrone West, who died while being taken into Baltimore police custody.
She says she had a positive and private discussion with delegates.READ MORE: Baltimore's Behavioral Health Pilot Program Aims To Provide New Youth Services
“We had a powerful discussion and I’m praying that all goes well. But I’m feeling really good about the meeting,” Jones said.
As the crowd sat, waiting to speak, delegates were dismissed and participants came to the realization their voices would not be heard.
“Y’all told us outside everybody stood there and heard y’all say that we were going to get to talk to these people–period,” one woman said.
“The folks who pulled this together, we aren’t the ones who can force them to do anything,” one man said.
Delegates who heard the commotion came to reassure the crowd. While they didn’t get to speak, their presence was certainly effective.
“Of course, you are the general public. You have the right to do anything you want to do, but there is a process. You let us know that you’re coming,” said Del. Frank Conway, (D) Baltimore City.
Organizers are planning a panel discussion to talk about police brutality in Baltimore. No word when that will happen.MORE NEWS: State Police Expand Traffic Enforcement On I-83 In Baltimore City
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