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Daytonians Head To D.C. For Police Violence Demonstration

Lewis Wallace

At least fifty people will leave from Dayton Friday evening to make their way to Washington D.C. for a protest against police brutality, joining thousands who have been demonstrating around the country in recent months.

Dayton resident Iris Blanchard, a school counselor, says she’s fed up with seeing people she knows targeted by police.

“It’s time that we put our voices in and let the justice department know, let the Obama administration know, that they need to do something, they need to act now,” she said. “Otherwise the revolution is coming. It’s coming.”

Protests have been growing around Ohio since the August police shooting of John Crawford III in Beavercreek, just days before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri. John Crawford’s parents will be at the march in D.C., as will the families of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, AkaiGurley and Tamir Rice, all black men or boys (Rice was 12) who were unarmed when they were shot and killed by police in the last few months. In the cases of Crawford, Garner and Brown, grand juries chose not to indict the officers involved, which has given further energy to the growing protests.

“We’re not just going to protest, we’re coming back to make a change in our community,” said Tommy Owens, Jr., a Dayton resident who is helping foot the bill for a bus full of people to travel to and from D.C. Owens believes police violence against all races needs to be addressed at the federal and local level, but he and Blanchard also stressed the need for better education for African-American children and for cross-racial dialogue that takes on racism head-on.

The demonstration in D.C. on Saturday was called by the Reverend Al Sharpton, although the movement around the country, often associated with the hashtag#BlackLivesMatter, has been organized by multiple, decentralized grassroots groups.

Yesterday Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office announced a new working group to look at police training, citing the recent incidents. The committee includes three people from the Miami Valley: Major Daryl Wilson from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Reverend Daryl Ward of Omega Baptist Church and Tony Ortiz, Vice President of Latino Affairs at Wright State University.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.