By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Dozens of demonstrators took to the streets Sunday, voicing their anger over the National Fraternal Order of Police convention in Pittsburgh.

They claim it’s too much of a coincidence that the convention begins on the same day of the police shooting in Ferguson.

READ MORE: Charges Dismissed Against Pittsburgh Animal Control Officer Accused Of Severely Injuring Dog

The protestors met near Freedom Corner, planning to march to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on the first day of the National Fraternal Order of Police convention.

“We’re also here to send a message to the FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police, and say to them, ‘How dare you open up your national convention on the same day Mike Brown was murdered,’” said Khalid Raheem with the National Mobilization Against Police Brutality.

One year ago today, Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was cleared of any charges. The protestors accuse the FOP of blocking police accountability.

“It’s also offensive that the City of Pittsburgh would allow them to have their convention here in Pittsburgh, the FOP consistently stands up for the most brutal and aggressive and racist acts of police brutality,” said Pete Schell with the Thomas Merton Center.

READ MORE: Pennsylvania Ready For Booster Shots Once Feds Give OK, Acting Health Secretary Says

“How dare you, on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown, come to Pittsburgh,” said protestor Tracie Jennings.

But national FOP President Chuck Canterbury says the national convention in Pittsburgh was planned four years ago.

“When you’re planning a convention for over 5,000 people, plus vendors and all of the other guests that we have, the dates are picked in advance, the hotel contracts are signed,” said Canterbury. “Obviously this was not meant for any disrespect whatsoever.”

Canterbury defended the protesters’ right to demonstrate and called for investigations into police-involved deaths of African Americans recently in the national spotlight.

“We don’t condone police brutality, we don’t condone anybody taking the law into their own hands, but we also realize a thorough investigation is conducted on all of these cases,” he said.

MORE NEWS: At Least 1 Dead After 2-Vehicle Crash In Westmoreland County

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter