Controversial sign coincides with police brutality rally - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Controversial sign coincides with police brutality rally

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- If you were in downtown Chattanooga Saturday morning, you probably noticed a banner hanging from the side of the Market Street bridge calling for an end to police brutality. A local organization says it's a problem that needs to be investigated further.

It's not clear who was behind the Chattanooga flag sign. It reads, "end police brutality" and "end white supremacy."

"There was a rally to stop police brutality and end white supremacy in Chattanooga. We see those things as being inter-related," says Ash-Lee Henderson.

Henderson is with Concerned Citizens for Justice. The group held a rally Saturday, reading what they call the ‘body count' list, of close to 60 people dating back to the 1970s, who they say were allegedly killed while in police custody.

"Concerned Citizens for Justice did not drop the sign off the bridge, but we were made aware of it right before our action. And we appreciate the solidarity of the people who were involved in that action," says Henderson.

She points to the recent case of Aaron Mitchell in College Hill Courts. He claims he was slammed to the ground by police and abused for days after the arrest while he was in jail.

"He beat me up. He beat me up bad," says Mitchell. My arm still hurts.

"We think that white supremacy is directly connected to police brutality because where the highest counts of police brutality are happening in the city, at least from what we can tell from our research, are in dense communities of color," says Henderson.

"It's just shocking really," says Ashley Harmon, in reaction to the sign.

Most people we talked to on the street about the sign and the mission to stop police brutality, had mixed reactions.

"I guess they're tough on some people because of their situations, but other than that, I really don't have anything else to comment on that," says Harmon.

"Well, it's disgusting and I don't think Chattanooga's any place like that," says Richard Layne.

"We think that there needs to be more citizens in this city that would stand up and take such brave actions to say that enough is enough. There needs to be a just city," says Henderson.

Henderson says she just wants a more open dialogue with police.

In the case of Aaron Mitchell, Chattanooga Police released a statement denying any wrongdoing. They say the officers acted professionally and will not be investigated.

Henderson says the group plans to hold another rally on October 22nd.

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