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Huntsville residents march through downtown, calling for justice for Breonna Taylor

Friday's march was the second in north Alabama in protest of the decision out of Louisville on Wednesday.

Posted: Sep 25, 2020 11:19 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2020 12:02 AM

As protesters gathered in front of Huntsville City Hall Friday evening, people shared their frustration with the ruling on the Breonna Taylor case out of Louisville this week.

"I was not surprised at all because the systematic racism is real and this is just a part of it," said marcher Diana Isom.

Dozens of Huntsville residents march through downtown to call for justice following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Police. Dozens of Huntsville residents march through downtown to call for justice following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Police.

She said even though the decision on Wednesday didn't surprise her, Isom said it broke here heart all the same.

"Makes me want to cry because I feel like -- just imagine if your significant other was murdered by the police and you know that it was not justified, you would be heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for her," Isom said.

That's why Isom decided to join the more than 40 others who marched on Friday evening to call for the changes they hope to see in policing. 

Part of the march also focused on Crystal Ragland, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed by Huntsville Police in May 2019 after officers said she ignored their commands and drew her weapon.

About a month after the shooting, an incident review board determined officers did follow departmental protocol. 

Starting in August 2020, Huntsville Police began going through their written directives and posting them online in a public portal. 

During Friday's march, protesters wove their way through the downtown area. At times marchers were blocking traffic and after a while, Huntsville Police asked them to walk on the sidewalk for their safety and that of drivers. 

The protest remained peaceful throughout the demonstration. 

One of the event's organizers, Remus Bowden, said he was glad to see the turnout, saying this is just one step toward their goal of police reform.

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Bowden challenged what he described as a misnomer about protesters: that they enjoy being out in the community, repeatedly calling for change.

"I'm tired of being tired and I'm tired of having to come out. I'm tired of having to stand for what's right and trying to explain to people how offensive things are, trying to explain to people how racism is actually real, that there is systemic, there is institutionalized racism. It just gets hard to have to continually explain things that I'm under the impression that they have no interest in actually trying to understand," Bowden said.

As was the case during Thursday's Huntsville City Council meeting, protesters also renewed calls for Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray to step down from his position. 

City leaders said during Thursday night's city council meeting that conversations about policing would continue as the city awaits the report from the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council.

To read the written directives that Huntsville Police have published so far, click here.

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