TACOMA, Wash. – Dozens of participants in the Black Girls Matter march, took their message into the streets of Tacoma. They started at the Tacoma Police Headquarters and then made their way to the Tacoma Mall.
Organizers said they marched in support of Monique Tillman, the 17-year old now suing after a video was released, which appears to show an off-duty police officer Jared Williams pull her off her bike, throw her to the ground by her hair and tase her in front of the Tacoma Mall in 2014.
“It could have been our daughters, it could have been one of us, so it’s the only thing we could do was come out and support the movement,” said Tonette-Leialoha Leemoui, one of the participants. “We don’t want this happening to our youth, let alone any youth.”
Leemoui and others are also calling for the firing of Jared Williams.
Some like the Rizebergs brought their entire family to show their support of the Black Girls Matter movement.
“We’re just a part of the community and violence against one affects us all,” said Josh Rizeberg, who participated in the march with his wife, 5-year old son and 1-year old daughter.
There was also a sole protester who came in support of the police.
“It’s peaceful, but it’s scary because I think the police just need more support and understanding,” said Claire Webber.
Webber said she felt outnumbered, and organizers say she’s right, with a movement they say is just beginning in Tacoma.
“Coming together as a community is the right thing to do and standing behind Monique Tillman, even if she has asked us to,” said the march organizer, Jamika Scott. “We felt was important to do.”
Opponents of the march also sounded off on social media, some expressing disappointment that the march used Memorial Day to send their message.