Protesters took to the streets in Atlanta on Friday to protest police shootings, in a march sparked by the recent killing son two African-American men by police officers — Terrence Crutcher, 40, in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott, 43, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Georgia NAACP organized the protest, which it labeled “Midnight in America.” They also said that the marching portion of the protest would be followed by a sit-in that would last until midnight — though they did not reveal where the sit-in would take place. Rally speakers said only that the protesters planned to “occupy a space.”
But by about 10:15 local time, the marchers had announced that they were headed for Atlanta Police Department headquarters.
Watch a live stream of the Atlanta protest march in the following video.
Another live stream is available in the video below.
The initial crowd was estimated at 250 people, but as the night went on organizers from the local NAACP said they expected as many as 1,000 to join in.
Georgia NAACP Chapter President Francys Johnson called the two police shootings in the past week an “escalation” of police violence against African-American people.
“Black people have witnessed people do violence to them and (the perpetrator) be protected by law enforcement,” he told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “It is in fact an escalation,” he said. “We aren’t asking anymore. We’re demanding.”
Marchers chanted, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” as they marched from the National Center for Civil and Human Rights starting at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Other chants included, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell.”
Atlanta police told WAGA TV News that they planned to monitor the protest march from their center of operations using more than 7,000 surveillance cameras. A police spokesperson said that the department was prepared if the demonstration got out of hand.
But they said they expected a peaceful event.
This story is breaking and will be updated as soon as new information becomes available.