What protest organizers are asking for - KMOV.com

What protest organizers are asking for

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Protesters marching through St. Louis streets. Credit :KMOV Protesters marching through St. Louis streets. Credit :KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Leaders of protests that have taken place after the verdict tell News 4 they have specific demands they want to be met.

Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks says the demands include more accountability for police officers.

“We want a civilian oversight board. In 2014, in Ferguson, we asked for a civilian oversight board, but it had no teeth, no power. We want it to have subpoena power, give it to us now,” a protester told News 4.

Franks added that protest organizers would also like to see the city strengthen the Circuit Attorney’s Office, including an investigation of all officer-involved shootings.

Watch full interview with Rep. Franks

“More resources for the Circuit Attorney’s office to be able to head independent investigations. Police have to stop policing the police, period. They can't-do effective investigations with somebody they’ve been working with for so long,” said Franks.

The largely peaceful protests during the daylight hours wrap up and many demonstrators then leave, but some demonstrators continue into the night, becoming violent and destructive.

“Now, I’m not going to go out and bust any windows or do anything like that. If I’m out there I’ll try to stop it, everybody knows that. But, we forget Martin Luther King said ‘rioting is the language of the unheard.’ If I’m out there I’m gonna bring those people in, I’m gonna talk to them, I’m gonna ask why, we’re gonna try to see what we need to do and it’s been done, actually, a couple times, but that doesn’t get reported," Franks said. "What gets reported is those few folks that go out and do what they feel is necessary to do, and we are, of course, we’re not insensitive to businesses at all, we’re not insensitive to the destruction that goes on but we want to make sure these same folks, we want everybody to not be insensitive to the reason why we’re out here as well. And, if we’re gonna let these incidents, these broken windows, and so-on-and-so-forth paint the light and change the narrative of what’s going on, when we have thousands of folks in a non-violent protest that come together and do exactly what we need to do and it takes light from why we’re even out here in the first place. Why aren’t our conversations more about the officer that should be in jail, right now? Why aren’t our conversations more about a city actually coming together behind police accountability and moving forward to bridge a gap? That’s what could have happened, but that didn’t happen. And so, there will be folks who try to change the narrative, there will be folks who are upset about what’s going on and they are well within their rights to be upset but understand why we’re upset and, understand why we’re out here, and even try to understand why those folks feel the need to be more aggressive or violent in a manner.”

Franks was at a non-violent protest in downtown St. Louis Monday morning. Another protest is scheduled for the Delmar Loop Monday evening.  Franks said he and other organizers will stay behind once the official protest wraps up to try to de-escalate and tension and discourage destruction.

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