Downtown Orlando police brutality rally calls for social change

Dozens gathered for a rally in Downtown Orlando Saturday to end what some call police brutality across America.

The protesters marched around the intersection of East Colonial Drive and Magnolia Avenue. Orlando police silently looked on as the mass of about 50 people chanted peacefully, calling for social change.

"We want everybody to wake up and realize this is not just a black problem," said rally organizer Korey Wheeler. "This is everybody's problem."

Wheeler with Organize Now said the crowd was rallying in solidarity with the protesters in Baltimore, and nationwide, who feel some police officers have too much power and not enough accountability, despite the indictment Friday of the six officers said to be involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

It was concern for her 13-year-old son that brought Lucresha Thomas out to the rally.

"My son could be next," she said. "If he's ever stopped by the police, he could wind up dead. He doesn't know his rights. Those are the types of things that make this conflict hard. We don't know our rights and the police come and just over power us."

That's why Wheeler believes the power lies with the people, saying it's time to take it all back.

"It's very important that we educate ourselves on our rights," Wheeler said. As far as knowing what to do when you're stopped by the cops, a lot of people don't know, and a lot of people are scared as well. So, it's very important that we try to educate people."

Going forward, Organize Now will be planning meetings to educate people about their rights.

The group is also drafting a letter to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, asking that all deputies wear body cameras without the option to turn them off for any reason.

Five hundred deputies are being outfitted with the body cameras this spring.


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