CINCINNATI — Despite a steady rain, a large crowd gathered at the New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn to rally for stronger accountability for police officers involved in incidents of brutality, or where someone was killed.
The rally was led by the Cincinnati Anti-Police Brutality Coalition, a group initially organized in June 2020 in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor; The group has continued to host rallies and meetings for others who have died in interactions with police officers.
"I hope the impact is that folks realize that there are more George Floyds," said Cory Brown, a coordinator with the group. "There are more cases like this that are not getting the recognition or the acknowledgment that they need."
Earlier this week, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and other charges connected to the killing of George Floyd, but activists with the Cincinnati Anti-Police Brutality Coalition said there is more progress to be made.
"We’ve seen a speck of accountability. We need justice for all of these families and that won’t happen until the thousands of cases across the country are reopened and these cops charged," said Brown.
Saturday afternoon's rally focused primarily on family members who have lost loved ones, like Dontez O’Neal, who was 19 years old when he was shot and killed by Cincinnati Police officer Orlando Smith in an undercover drug bust in 2012. O’Neal’s mother says the shooting was unjustified.
Another death mentioned was that of Melvin Murray Jr., who died in a crash while fleeing police in North Fairmount in 2015. Murray was speeding down Sutter Avenue when his Volvo left the road and hit the tree, according to CPD's Traffic Unit. Black Lives Matter activists at the time said police "did little to assist him on the scene, even though two officers admitted they saw his leg bleeding."
"Instead, as police audio demonstrates, the officers on the scene insulted and cursed Murray, while he sat in critical need of medical assistance," Black Lives Matter said in a 2015 press release.
Brown said Saturday's rally is to demand cases in which someone died during an interaction with local police be re-opened and re-examined.
"This is an event for impacted families to be at the center, to highlight their demands to reopen, open and prosecute and jail killer cops," she said.
Brown and speakers at the rally pointed to the national protests following George Floyd's murder as a large factor in getting that case to trial. The group said it wants to bring similar attention and awareness to all cases of police violence, past and current.