A rally organized by Answer Coalition turned into a march onto the streets of Sarasota blocking traffic at Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Way and U.S. 301 Thursday night, until Sarasota Police arrived and cleared the roadway.
The peaceful rally was filled with chants for justice against killer cops, and calls for changes in a system protestors say unnecessarily target black lives.
“In my life the pain is indescribable,” Natasha Clemons said. “They (Sarasota deputies) executed my son, my only son for no apparent reason.”
Clemons’ son Rodney Mitchell was shot and killed by two Sarasota deputies during a traffic stop in 2012. According to law enforcement Mitchell tried to run the deputies over, forcing them to open fire. Both were cleared of any wrong doing.
Clemons’ said her son wasn’t trying to hurt the deputies and her story from 2012 is similar to cases of police brutality since.
With back-to-back police shootings in Baton Rouge and a suburb of St. Paul Minnesota, Clemons’ old wounds have been re-opened.
“If they've done something wrong they should have received consequences,” Clemons said. “I just pray this stops and we as a a black community need to take a stand and do what's right. President Obama, the time is now cause I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Protesters said law enforcement need to be held accountable for all of the lives they take.
Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile’s deaths were both captured on cell phone video. Video that in the world of instant news and social media recorded the macabre events in real time. Castile’s girlfriend live streaming the aftermath on her private Facebook page.
“I'm heartbroken knowing that our people are being killed by the police and there is no accountability it just continues to happen,” Ruth Beltran with Answer Coalition said. “We need it to stop.”
Despite some yelling back and forth between police and protestors the rally was peaceful with no arrests.