Protesters march in wake of deadly police-involved shootings
COLUMBIA - Various groups in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in solidarity of two recent deadly police-involved shootings protested in downtown Columbia Thursday afternoon.
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man was selling CDs Tuesday outside a Baton Rouge grocery store when he was shot by police while an officer was restraining him.
Philando Castile was shot by police in Falcon Heights, Minn. on Thursday.
Both incidents were captured on camera.
One protester laid down on the sidewalk in front of Columbia City Hall with his hands behind his back as though they were in handcuffs.
Traffic on Broadway was backed up, and the protestors had a few police officers following them from location to location.
A Columbia Police Officer on the scene said his only concern involving the peaceful protests was the safety of the demonstrators. He said he did not want them to get hit by a car in the street.
In a show of solidarity, Cafe Berlin and The Main Squeeze management decided to close up shop on Thursday.
Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, collaborator with Race Matters, Friends learned about the event after seeing posts on her group's Facebook page, Race Matters, Friend COMO.
Wilson said she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of involvement in the protest by the white community.
"I'm really happy to see white people out protesting. I think this is a white people problem and white people need to work on it. To be out front on the issues," Wilson-Kleekamp said.
"I think its very hard for people to make the decision to be involved in racial justice things," Wilson-Kleekamp said. "In our town there is a lack of awareness in terms of what these types of events do to the psyche of people of color."