CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People once again took to Charlottesville’s streets to call for the defunding of several area police departments.
A Defund Cville Police Rally got underway a little after 5 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at the Freedom of Speech Wall on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Demonstrators marched and made noise as they moved down the mall, eventually making their way to the city’s police department.
NBC29 was on Facebook Live for the event, which you can watch below. Please note, we are not censoring the audio or video:
Organizers posted the following message on the Defund Cville Police Facebook page: “This weekend we celebrate Juneteenth and we know that even with the end of slavery, not all people are free. The 13th Amendment ended slavery except as punishment for a crime. Slavery still exists through mass incarceration. Police are the modern-day slave patrols. Together, we will end anti-Black policing, end racist mass incarceration, and free us all.”
They also asked attendees to wear a mask and practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from other people.
Demonstrators once again marched down the pedestrian mall Saturday, making noise and chanting slogans. Participants paused a few times as a person leading the march with a bullhorn engaged with restaurant patrons, asking them to join the protest.
The march then moved onto East Market Street around 5:45 p.m., blocking a portion of traffic as demonstrators headed back towards the Charlottesville Police Department.
Marchers arrived at CPD at 6 p.m., though they made an effort to let some cars through before blocking off the street in front of the station. Participants were then given a chance to make speeches and continue to chant. A few people began spray painting graffiti onto the street in front of the police department around 6:45 p.m.
The march then began to move away from CPD a few minutes after 7 p.m., going back towards the Freedom of Speech Wall.
One of the march leaders took a moment to urge everyone participating to help out the homeless, to check to make sure they are OK. She also advised folks to get to know their neighbors, and to build up communities.
The march wrapped up shortly before 7:30 p.m.
A similar event was held last week, on June 13, when demonstrators marched from the parking lot of the John Paul Jones Arena and block traffic at the intersection of Barracks Road and Emmet Street for almost two hours.
Organizers of these events are calling for measures to reallocate funds from the Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and University of Virginia police departments to other organizations and programs. Additionally, they want an end to the use of school resource officers (SROs) and pre-trial detention.