Protesters greet spring with march in Clayton, continued calls for change in justice system
More than 100 people marched through the streets of Clayton Friday in a continuation of protests begun last August after Michael Brown was killed.
Carrying signs that read “We Can’t Stop Now” and chanting familiar chants, they marched from Shaw Park, past the St. Louis County Police headquarters and around the St. Louis County Justice Center.
Protest leaders called for marchers to stay on one side of the street, and police appeared to know the route, directing traffic away ahead of the crowd.
March organizer Anthony Shahid said they brought their protest to Clayton to “make people uncomfortable. Make white people uncomfortable.”
Fellow organizer Zaki Baruti said they chose Clayton because it is the center of power for St. Louis County.
Baruti said they continue to protest because “the issues are still very hot as an extension of what happened with the murder of Michael Brown and the continuing assault of black people and brown people and poor people throughout the country.”
Kim Ewing of University City marched with the group “Mothers Against Senseless Killings.” She said she continues to protest because the DOJ report and the recent resignations in Ferguson aren’t enough to change the inequalities in the justice system.
“I’m tired of the killings. I’m tired of the injustice with the police department. We are all human. We make mistakes and they have made a lot of mistakes. And the system is standing behind them to allow them to kill these people and walk away,” Ewing said, saying she’d like officers to stop being paid when they are placed on administrative leave after they shoot someone.
Protest leader Tory Russell, who focuses on grassroots efforts with young people, said it’s been a long few months but he sees progress even as they gear up for more protests this spring.
“There’s more politicized youth. We have young people that are ready to run for office. We have young people that are really learning electoral politics, how to learn policy, how to learn legislation. Also rebuilding things in the community,” Russell said.
Russell said the next step for protesters is to remove Ferguson Mayor James Knowles from office. Another march is scheduled in Ferguson Saturday.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.