Crowds Gather Downtown To Protest Racially-Charged Police Shootings

CIVIC CENTER (CBSLA.com)   — More than 500 people rallied outside LAPD headquarters  Saturday to protest recent deadly police shootings in LA and Ferguson, Missouri.

The protesters also marched around various downtown streets chanting for justice and answers in the two high profile shootings — unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson and Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally-challenged man in Los Angeles on Monday evening.

Both victims were black and fatally shot by officers just days apart.

Early afternoon, the crowd numbered only about 100 but the protest continued to pick up steam, reported CBS2’s Greg Mills.

Ford’s family also attended the march but declined to speak with reporters.

“This could be my brother,” said protester Hominy Johnson about Ford, “It could happen to anyone I know, one of my friends, one of my cousins. I’m a black person living in America and any black person, for any black male, this is an issue across the nation.”

“Years ago,” said activist Najee Ali, “we forced Chief Gates out of office. They didn’t take the Rodney King beating seriously. And 20 years later, we want Chief Beck to know we will force him out of office if he doesn’t take this murder of Ezell Ford seriously.”

Around 3:15 p.m. the protesters began marching north on Spring Street in the middle of the street. They later moved to Alameda Street, according to police.

By 3:45 p.m. the group had arrived outside Union Station.

Officers monitoring the march reported over their radios that the crowd remained peaceful.

Mills said another rally was scheduled to begin around 5:30 p.m.

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