Black Fayetteville organizations present demands for elected officials to tackle police violence

Michael Lozano Image
Saturday, June 6, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Fayetteville demonstrators demand change from city leaders in an impassioned protest.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Several black organizations assembled outside Fayetteville City Hall to present their demands for systematic change within local government on Friday evening.

Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Task Force, also known as Fayetteville P.A.C.T, gathered other groups like Stop Killing Us and LGBT + Hearts Place to discuss the struggles the black community is facing.

One speaker said, "law officials must be held accountable for their actions."

This is why Fayetteville P.A.C.T has listed four demands for city and county officials to apply: an oversight board for the police department and sheriff's office, the Brady List from District Attorney Billy West, masks and COVID-19 testing for everyone in the detention center and an end to cash bail.

Individuals, outside city hall, also spoke in front of dozens of people, sharing their heartbreaking stories of loss.

RELATED: Fayetteville Police make numerous arrests related to violent protests

Allison Smutherman told the crowd about her nephew's death on Nov. 6, 2019, at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Allison said Treva Smutherman was shot and killed after he got into an altercation with a Fayetteville PD detective.

The Smutherman family is still trying to learn more about the investigation into his death and wants more transparency from police.

After the discussions, the demonstrators proceeded to march peacefully from city hall to the Market House.

When they arrived, community leaders decided to walk around the historical building, known to be a place where slaves were sometimes sold, seven times like the Israelites did in Jericho in the Bible.

RELATED: Fayetteville man charged in connection with Market House fire

But FPD officers and National Guard troops quickly arrived on the scene, trying to get demonstrators to move toward the sidewalk. After demonstrators refused, law enforcement began placing vehicles in the way, but passionate men and women continued walking.

"We are demonstrating peacefully. We are making seven circles around this Market House to tear these walls down. They don't want us to send that message, because they know they don't have power over us," one demonstrator told ABC11.

As they made their final lap, Miss Lee knelt down by the historical building, overcome with emotion.

"I kneel because enough is enough of killing. I have children. I'm a black mother. I have family, I have friends, and this is totally ... look at what the children have to deal with," Miss Lee said.

The march ended peacefully with everyone heading home after the seventh lap.