Community
9:32 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Kansas Citians Stage Peaceful Protest Of Ferguson Fatal Shooting

Kansas Citians rallied in support of an unarmed teenager killed by a police officer near St. Louis last week. They chanted 'Hands up, don't shoot' as cars passed on the Country Club Plaza.
Kansas Citians rallied in support of an unarmed teenager killed by a police officer near St. Louis last week. They chanted 'Hands up, don't shoot' as cars passed on the Country Club Plaza.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Hundreds of Kansas Citians gathered at the J.C. Nichols fountain on the Country Club Plaza Thursday night to protest the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old near St. Louis over the weekend.

The rally was one of dozens scheduled as part of the National Moment of Silence, a movement encouraging people to assemble peacefully to protest police brutality against Mike Brown and others.

People stood along Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, holding up signs with messages such as "Justice for Mike" and encouraging cars to honk in support of citizens in Ferguson, Mo. They held up their hands while chanting "Hands up, don't shoot!"

Debbie Burris is raising her 15-year-old grandson. She has another grandson who's 18, the same age as the victim of the Ferguson shooting.

"It scares me to death that in this day and age, that kind of thing can still be happening," says Burris. "I can't believe it's still happening. The only thing that can change it, I guess, are people."

Many people at the rally say they decided to come after seeing something about it on the internet.

Tomeya Baker says she's been following the situation in Ferguson closely. She says there's a disconnect between the peaceful videos she's seen protestors upload and the police response.

"What's going on? Why can't they stand on the street and say, 'Stop the violence?' We need to hear something from the police department, what's going on," says Baker, earning cheers from a small crowd of people sitting on the grass and making signs behind her.

Organizers of the rally read the names and stories of a dozen unarmed people killed by police officers. Amber Stewart thanked the crowd for coming out to mourn together.

"There's truly strength in numbers," says Stewart. "Your presence provides a visibility for a community that is frequently seen in the media, but is rarely heard when it comes to matters of injustice."

Five mounted officers with the Kansas City Police Department waited on horseback away from the crowd, but the protest remained peaceful. Across the state, the Missouri Highway Patrol has taken over security in Ferguson.