Several dozen people marched through busy downtown streets Thursday afternoon, hoping to raise awareness for how officer-involved deaths impact families.
A group marched through downtown Seattle on Thursday to show support for mothers of people fatally shot by police, demanding police accountability and more awareness for how the deaths affect families.
Several dozen people gathered in the afternoon, three days before Mother’s Day, outside the federal courthouse in Seattle for the protest that ended a few hours later with a rally outside City Hall.
Family members of Che Taylor, whom Seattle police fatally shot in February, helped lead the group of moms and community members, many of whom carried signs reading “Black Moms Matter” and pushed an empty casket alongside them to represent the people across the state killed by police.
“The violence has to stop,” said Taylor’s wife, Brenda Taylor. “I’m hurting. See all these people out here? They hurt behind ones that are gone.”
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Amid shouts such as “Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!” the group made its way southbound on Fifth Avenue to hold the rally, where Seattle police blocked off a stretch of road. City officials conducted surveillance, rerouted drivers and emphasized temporary delays in the area.
Maria Hamilton, who said her son was fatally shot by police two years ago in Milwaukee, marched alongside the Taylor family and others, representing Mothers’ United Voices, a project she founded. The organization helps connect mothers with trauma therapy, she said, and other services to help them cope with officer-involved deaths.
“These women are showing their strength by sharing their stories and the pain that is often covered by the spectacle of the headlines,” the group’s website says.
After Taylor’s death, his family and supporters strongly questioned the police version of events that led to the shooting in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood on Feb. 21. They’ve demanded the officers involved be criminally charged and, at one point, that Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole be fired.
Brenda Taylor said Thursday their frustration continues.
“I just heard so many stories, different versions. I’m like, the lies, please stop,” she said. “Stand up and take accountability for your actions.”
In a statement released March 28, police said the investigation into the shooting was continuing and the department had not reached any conclusions on the officers’ use of force. King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered an inquest into the incident last week.
Jakwaun Shannon, 11, who rode his scooter alongside the group Thursday, said his involvement in the protest stemmed from Taylor’s death.
“Too much black people are getting killed,” he added. “It’s sad.”