The angry voices echoing through a rain-soaked crowd in Seattle’s Westlake Park Thursday night were all calling for police accountability.
But when ideas about how to force changes were shouted by organizers from bullhorns, the crowd seemed far from unified.
Taylor called for lawmakers to change the way officers are held accountable after shootings, and after complaints about an officer’s use of force
“We need police, but we’ll work from within this system to change the system!” Taylor told the crowd.
But voices of dissent from the Black Lives Matter movement loudly challenged some of Taylor’s proposals. “You don’t speak for us,” shouted one protester, while another screamed “To hell with your system!”
“You yelling at me is not going to get it done,” Taylor said in response. “My brother just got killed four months ago. You think you’re in pain? I’m in pain, too,” he said. “We have to be unified.”
Taylor and members of Seattle clergy were hoping to convince the crowd of about 1,500 people to keep the protest civil, and contained within the park. Reverend Leslie Braxton got the biggest response, when he said “If you're in a business suit, you’ll get shot! If you're in a hoodie like Travon Martin you’ll get shot! If you're black and you're dealing with the police, there's a good chance you will get shot! We're fed up,” Braxton said.
But protesters like Zora Seboulisa challenged the crowd to leave the crowded assembly and take a far more radical voice into the streets, leaving behind the message from Seattle clergy.
“They were saying that not all cops are murderers, that the system isn't guilty, that only a few cops are bad cops, and that's just not true,” Seboulisa said. “The cops don't protect us, they never have and they never will."
© 2019 Cox Media Group.