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Peaceful protesters gather; want justice for fallen Rodney Mitchell

Posted at 7:17 PM, Aug 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 13:13:23-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, seems far away from the Suncoast, people in Sarasota are trying to inform the rest of the community that similar shootings happen all over the U.S.

Rodney Mitchell was shot and killed by Sarasota County Sheriffs deputies during a traffic stop in 2012. The Sheriff's Department says the shooting was the result of Mitchell failing to follow their orders.

However, there seems to be some conflict surrounding eyewitness accounts of the incident.

On Saturday, the Mitchell family was joined by dozens of others for a rally on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. 

"We want justice for Rodney Mitchell; we want justice for all the black men that have been killed and murdered by law enforcement without any reason whatsoever," said Vana Renejuste, an attorney representing the Mitchell family.

Protesters voiced their opinion on U.S. 301 chanting and holding their signs. Some of them read, "I am Rodney Mitchell," drawing much attention from passing motorists. Other signs called for justice for Michael Brown, the man who was killed by Ferguson police two weeks ago.

"Letting people know we care, letting the city know we care," Nicholas Webley said. "We're out here today to show solidarity with what's going on in Ferguson."

They marched down Martin Luther King Drive, to his namesake park, where the Mitchell family representatives spoke to the crowd.

All together it was a peaceful protest as people on the Suncoast gathered together to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Like Roger Butterfield, who is the chair of the coalition for peace and justice in Sarasota said, "It's a call for justice that I feel compelled to come out here because other people are really suffering."