WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Hundreds of people gathered in Wichita Tuesday night for a Black Lives Matter protest. The protest comes after the recent fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
The protest started around 8 p.m. at McAdams Park in the 1300 block of East 13th Street North. Protestors walked towards Interstate 135 where state troopers stopped the group from entering the highway. The protesters chanted in unison, “Black lives matter, all lives matter!” and “No justice, no peace!”.
Several Kansas Highway Patrol officers and other local law enforcement agencies lined the north and southbound lanes of I-135 between Kellogg and K-96 in preparation.
“Even though this is a Black Lives Matter march, you can see a bunch of races and ethnicities. We have whites, and Hispanics and everyone. It’s not about black lives,” said A.J. Bohannon, organizer.
After several minutes of protesting face-to-face with the troopers, the protesters made their way back to 13th Street to continue their protest. The group grew by the hundreds as they walked along 13th toward Grove and then on to Hillside. Several cars were backed up along 13th as the crowd flooded the street. The protest moved back towards McAdams Park around 10 p.m. when the protest ended.
“What brought me out here today was two years ago my nephew Tayler Rock was killed by a Cowley County Sheriff as he sat unarmed in his car,” said Patrick Lane, protester. “We want justice for our nephew, and we want justice for these kids that are at risk. We are not anti-police, but when an officer commits a crime, they need to be held to the highest letter of the law.”
Protesters made it clear they wanted this to be a peaceful protest and no arrests were made. No injuries were reported.
“We’re not anti-police. We’re not out here saying that we hate the police or we are going to hurt the police. We want to work with the police, and today, we were very successful in accomplishing that goal,” said Djuan Wash, Sunflower Community Action Group.
“I have seen nothing but peaceful protesting tonight, but it does tug at the heart a bit when you realize it’s these types of things that have to happen before anyone seems to care,” said Lane.