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Group Protests Zimmerman Verdict Outside Mayor’s Office

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(Photo Credit: Harold Hayes/KDKA)

(Photo Credit: Harold Hayes/KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More than 100 demonstrators angered about the Trayvon Martin case demanded to see Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, but so far have not been able to see him.

It began at the Allegheny County Courthouse Wednesday.

One protest leader said to the crowd, “And for most black people, we were thinking, ‘This is injustice as usual.’ Am I right?”

“Yeah,” the crowd responded.

During another chant the crowd yelled:
“It’s our duty to fight;
It’s our duty to win.
We must love each other, and support each other.”

It was a continuation of frustration with the Martin case, but also concern about life among minority groups in Pittsburgh.

The protest moved across the street to the offices of City Council and the mayor. They had a list of economic and public safety demands covering a wide range of issues.

The crowd swelled, but the mayor sent his assistant Jim Sheppard to meet them.

“I’m special assistant to the mayor,” he told them. “I’ll receive your demands on his behalf and make sure that he gets them.”

But many asked, “Where is he?”

“The mayor is in his office today. I will take your demands to him,” said Sheppard.

It was not what they wanted to hear.

“The mayor is unable to meet with you right now,” Sheppard told them.

“See this is a problem right here because we cannot get any justice for Trayvon Martin, but you got all these police officers defending the mayor from his constituents,” replied one protestor.

As that debate continued, Bekezela Mguni, of New Voices Pittsburgh, told KDKA’s Harold Hayes: “We feel that that is not an isolated incident in Florida. We feel that it’s connected to a national and a local experience of Pittsburghers where we feel we experience intense violence as black people and we want to call attention to our city officials and hold them accountable that they need to make exact change right now.”

The group met with a number of City Council members including mayoral candidate Bill Peduto.

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