At Arkansas vigil, calls for racial justice

    10:58 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A vigil at the steps of the Arkansas Capitol to mark the Trayvon Martin verdict changed focus after Little Rock police fatally shot a fleeing suspect.

    Chants of "No justice, no peace," punctuated remarks by several speakers who called for an end to racial profiling and violence in the black community.

    "We have seen a plethora of police shootings in this city and around this country that disproportionately affect black male children," said state Senator Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock. "We are here tonight because ultimately we could not sleep without expressing our frustration with the idea that a black woman defending herself from assault by an abusive spouse by shooting into the ceiling gets 20 years for standing her ground, but an unarmed young man gets shot down by an assailant who is deemed to be within his rights under the law. It does not conform to fact, and it defies reason." 

    Little Rock resident Will McClinton said George Zimmerman's acquittal in Martin's killing is equal to "a green light" to kill black males.

    State Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock told a crowd of several hundred people that they weren't going to leave with a solution to the problem, but she implored individuals to "look in the mirror" when they want to find answers to community problems. 

    Police on Monday fatally shot 26-year-old Deon Williams after a foot chase.

    "We must step up to the plate and mentor our own children," said Chesterfield. "We must make them aware of the fact that they come from a great people who have overcome slavery and Jim Crow and segregation and emasculation and, through determination, we're still here." 

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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