Around 100 peaceful demonstrators gathered Saturday morning near downtown Colorado Springs to march in protest against police brutality.
The organizers, 18-year-old Kalani Lesane and 19-year-old Surina Lanza, are not part of any organization but they say they hope to form one.
"This is our life," said Lesane. "We have to live with this. We have to feel what’s going on. We’re stressing the fact that lives do matter. Gun violence has to end."
"This is our future, our kids' future," added Lanza. "Change starts somewhere.”
The two organized the march primarily in response to the recent Colorado Springs police shootings of two men – 19-year-old De’Von Bailey and 38-year-old Josh Vigil.
Among the marchers Saturday were several of Vigil’s family members. One of his daughters, 18-year-old Angelyna Reed, wore a shirt with Vigil’s image on it and carried a sign that said, "’l'll never get to hug my dad again." She said she thinks the police officers who shot her father should lose their badges.
The diverse crowd of protestors started outside the First Congregational Church and marched south on Tejon Street past Acacia Park, down Kiowa, and ended up on the steps of City Hall. They chanted and raised signs with phrases like “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Police Brutality Against Black & Brown People.”
CSPD had issued a public message in advance of the protest to people within a 2-mile radius of the planned demonstration saying there was police activity in the area and warning them to stay indoors.
There was no violence or police presence at the event.
Vigil was killed July 23, when officers responded to reports of a suspicious person walking with a gun. According to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the agency investigating the incident, CSPD officers approached Vigil who then fled in a car. The release says three officers encountered Vigil a short time later, and at least one officer fired a shot.
Bailey was killed one week ago. He was a suspect in a robbery, and police allege he reached for a gun. Video obtained by the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this week shows the teen running from two officers before falling and slumping to the ground. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the shooting and expects to turn over its evidence to the District Attorney’s office by the end of the week, at which time the police department is expected to release body camera footage worn by the responding officers.
Bailey’s family is expected to be present at a national press conference this Tuesday, August 13.