A Black Lives Matter sign is held up near the Capitol as a protest march about police brutality arrived after having started near the White House, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
Nearly 1,000 protestors of all ages and races marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol on July 7, demanding an end to police brutality.
The demonstration came on the heels of two police shootings this week that left two black men dead, and the same night as the shooting deaths of five police officers amid a similar protest in Dallas.
Police shot and killed Philando Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria manager in Minnesota following a traffic stop on July 6. A day earlier, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, La. Both shootings were caught on video. Castile’s girlfriend took the extraordinary step of broadcasting the final moments of his life live on Facebook.
The demonstrators blocked traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue and deployed several rallying cries, including, “Black lives matter,” “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Several members of Congress, including representatives of the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses, showed their support from the steps of the Capitol. Among them was civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
People rally near the White House during over protest about police brutality, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
“I went to jail 40 times during the ‘60s…beaten and left bloody and unconscious,” Lewis told the crowd through a bullhorn. “But I never gave up. I never gave up.”
The shootings have prompted national outrage, and tempers flared on the sweltering D.C. evening.
Some protestors cut Lewis off and demanded that they speak instead. Others booed Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) after he said he could have been a victim of police brutality if he hadn’t been wearing a suit. They told lawmakers they were tired of talk and demanded that they do their jobs.
Others yelled at the Capitol police officers at the bottom of the steps, imploring them to condemn corrupt cops.
Organizer Robert James said he planned the march in response to the back-to-back police shootings, according to WTOP.
Caiden Bryant, 5, middle, holds his mother Markita Bryant’s hand during a march from the White House to the Capitol concerning police brutality, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
The two most recent killings were pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back,” James told WTOP.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Sterling’s death. It is also assisting Minnesota while state officials investigate Castile’s shooting, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters Friday.
“We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement,” Lynch said. “We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law.”