Group gathers at Capitol to speak out against police brutality - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Group gathers at Capitol to speak out against police brutality

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The crowd just kept getting bigger Thursday night at the State Capitol -- many with signs that said things like "Murder is not law enforcement."

Some were more personal -- making reference to victims of local police shootings like Larry Jackson Jr. and Byron Carter.

The event organizer wished to remain anonymous and only wanted us to refer to her as Dr. Jules.

"We feel like it's important to build a critical mass of individuals who do not agree with police brutality. And it's important to have a show of solidarity to folks in our city as well as folks around the country who experience this issue," Jules said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo made an appearance at the protest but did not speak to the crowd.

He told us off camera he is proud of the ATX community and their history of peacefully exercising first amendment rights and the officers who facilitate and support the activities.

Ellen Sweets lives in Austin now but she grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.

"We've watched Ferguson become a tender box. And this was apparently the spark that needed to set it off," she said.

Sweets says her brother still lives in a town near Ferguson. She was going to visit him soon...but her family said it wouldn't be a fun trip due to what's going on.

"Another young black man has died...and if you look around at any black man here, any minority man here, 25 or older...he has had an encounter with the police that has not been pleasant," Sweets said.

Snehal Shingavi is an English Professor at UT. He's also an activist in support of Gaza. He says what's going on with Israel and Gaza is not unlike what's happening in the United States.

"In Israel, Palestine, that's if you're Palestinian, it's open season and they don't really need an excuse to kill you, it's because you're Palestinian. They can drop a bomb on you. Here in the United States, if you happen to be a black man walking down the street, it's open season. Everybody thinks that you're probably guilty of some crimes if the cops shoot you. You probably deserved it and then we'll show pictures of you looking like a thug after the fact," Shingavi said.

As far as the Missouri State Highway Patrol taking over supervision of security in Ferguson, one of the protestors today says that doesn't make any difference. He said the only way the people of Ferguson will get justice is if they keep demanding it.

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