Candles brightened the night Thursday as hundreds of people held up signs and chanted “Stop, don't shoot” outside a historic Glen Burnie church in remembrance of two young African-American men killed in shootings.
The Anne Arundel County chapter of the NAACP led the rally at John Wesley United Methodist Church, saying it is seeking justice for Kendall Green of Glen Burnie and Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo. The event was attended by about 200 people, including the Green family, local politicians and Anne Arundel County police.
Chapter Vice President Raleigh Turnage said his organization will continue to fight against what it sees as an injustice to the African-American community.
“Many people feel the impact of what’s happening, not only with Kendall Green, but around the state and the country,” Turnage said.
On Aug. 9, unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson after allegedly stealing cigars from a store and confronting the officer. Witnesses said Brown, 18, knelt on the ground and said, “Don’t shoot” before Wilson fired.
Since the incident, protests and the police response in the community near St. Louis have focused international attention on race relations in the United States.
Organizers of Thursday’s rally linked Brown’s death to Green’s in September. The 25-year-old was killed in a confrontation at Matthew Pinkerton’s home in Glen Burnie. Police and prosecutors charged Pinkerton, who is white, with second-degree murder and called the shooting an act of revenge for an extramarital affair. Defense attorneys called it self-defense.
Judge William Mulford II acquitted Pinkerton in June, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. He prevented the jury from hearing racial slurs Pinkerton used in the confrontation and decided the case without handing it to the jury.
“For Judge Mulford to sit there and say there’s not enough evidence to commit Pinkerton is an insult and an injustice,” said Felicia Carroll, Green’s mother.
She was joined at the the church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in the county, by county Police Chief Kevin Davis, who said the decision to charge Pinkerton was the right one.
“I stand by our decision to charge Matthew Pinkerton with murder,” Davis said.
Since Mulford’s ruling, the Green family and the NAACP have rallied outside the courthouse in Annapolis, calling Green’s death a hate crime and saying Mulford should have allowed the jury to hear the slurs and decide the case. The NAACP has called for a U.S. Justice Department review.
Mulford was invited to attend Thursday but declined, citing a schedule conflict.
At his home not far from the church, Pinkerton said he shot Green because he feared for his life. Prosecutors said he used the racial slur twice, provoking Green to come through his door. Defense attorneys said Green charged through the door.
Pinkerton said the NAACP is using the Green family to push its own agenda.
“It’s further complicating matters for his family and friends,” he said. “At what point does this family get the opportunity to grieve when it’s brought into the limelight to pursue their cause?”
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