Families of victims take peaceful stand against police - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Families march peacefully to end excessive use of force

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The group organized a peaceful march on Thursday, much like the those organized by Martin Luther King Jr. during the era of civil rights. The group organized a peaceful march on Thursday, much like the those organized by Martin Luther King Jr. during the era of civil rights.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

The New Hanover Black Leadership Caucus and families of victims gathered on Seventh and Red Cross Streets Thursday night for a peaceful march aimed to end excessive use of force by police.
 
The Black Leadership Caucus also marched to commemorate 51 years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech.
 
Families of Brandon Smith and Ronald Roland marched to the 1898 memorial.
 
"He was shot and killed in the Pizza Hut robbery," said Ronald Roland's father. "It could have been handled better by law enforcement professionals and he would have been here today."

"We must continue to fight for what's right regardless of race, background," Chairperson Sonya Patrick said. "We're for all people and all justice." 
   
Earlier in the month, the Black Leadership Caucus met to discuss the issues in Ferguson, Missouri.

Those at the meeting said the protests in Ferguson over the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown have given them the courage to speak out about similar deaths in Wilmington.

"Everyone's talking about Ferguson, but it's just as bad in Wilmington," C J Dunn said as he sat besides the widow of a Brandon Smith, who was shot by law enforcement earlier this year.

The caucus said they want justice for the deaths of Brandon Smith, Tevin Robinson, Ronald Roland and Grace Denkall of whom were shot by local law enforcement last fall.

They hope more people will be aware of the local police shootings, and that law enforcement will undergo more cultural training. 

Lindsey Smith, widow of Brandon Smith, said she just wants her 8-year-old son to feel safe again. 

"[Perry] said, 'Mommy, the only thing running through my mind is how I'm going to die. How am I going to die?'  I said, 'Perry, no one knows how they're going to die.' He said 'I just hope a police officer doesn't kill me.' That really hurt me." 

We reached out to the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office and Wilmington Police Department about their response to the excessive force allegations but they did not respond for comment.

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