By: Lanetra Bennett
July 7, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The back to back shootings of black men by police officers are stirring up a lot of emotions across the country, and in our area.
Tallahassee resident Carolyn Banks said, "I was hurt for the family members because they're also my brothers and sisters. My heart goes out to the family. I hope they do better in finding out the truth about the situation. It could've been my child the same way again, it could've been my child."
Tallahassee resident Rashad Brown says black men have to have a routine when pulled over by cops.
He said, "I'm not going to move. I'm going to speak sternly and properly. I'm going to sit up. I'm going to have my hands visible. I might even have my hands out the window. The problem with the routine is, we don't know what the police are going to do. Me putting my hands out my window and flashing my hands as a sign of safety and security to you, might be threatening for some strange reason. Go figure that one."
Brown is upset by the number of deaths at the hands of police officers. "We're tyrannized and under terrorism, domestic terrorism by our own government."
"That is murder," said Pastor Rudy Ferguson, who leads local anti-crime efforts. Referencing the Baton Rouge shooting of Alton Sterling, Pastor Ferguson said, "One was holding him down. His hands were behind his back. If he had a gun, they probably saw it, but it was no way for him to get a hold of it while one had his knee on him and the other one was holding down his arms. The other one took the gun out and shot him. They murdered him on purpose."
Barbara DeVane is a human rights activist in Tallahassee. She said, "My greatest feeling is sickness and disgust. And I am sick and tired of going to vigils and lighting candles and praying. Mother Jones, who was a great female labor leader, said that we should pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."
DeVane says the way to fight is through education and working together to eradicate racism.
Pastor Ferguson says another key is to help bridge the gap between communities and law enforcement.
Both say they believe there are good police officers out there, they just want those accused of killing without cause to be held accountable.