Knoxville protesters rally outside, inside police oversight meeting demanding reform

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Weeks after George Floyd was killed because of police brutality, protesters demanded police reform.

Local activists also called for change Thursday night for the Police Advisory and Review Committee.

Constance Every, leader of Black Coffee Justice and the local chapter of Black Lives Matters, said one reason why they wanted to protest is because Mayor Indya Kincannon appointed a new executive director of PARC, and she wasn’t the person Every said the community wanted.

“This should have been a public led decision. Not one person decide amongst themselves and five other individuals called a cabinet deciding what’s best for hundreds of thousands of people,” Every said.

Inside the meeting, protesters took to the podium, voicing their reform recommendations to the PARC members.

The group wanted PARC to be renamed so the first word in the title isn’t ‘police’ or any word relating to law enforcement.

They also wanted PARC to have more of an investigative authority.

One speaker mentioned that they knew because of state law, subpoena powers must go through city council. She said PARC needs to make sure they follow through with that step and actually go to city council for subpoenas.

The group wants PARC to have more funding, with full-time staff and additional, specific members, such as a student and a person who has had personal experience with police, whether that be a former inmate or former suspect of a crime.

The protesters also asked for change in the city policy that created PARC. They said the wording needed to include the rights of the citizens on the committee, not just the rights of law enforcement officers.

The group also wanted PARC to change how citizens can file a complaint against police activity to the committee. They said the current system is too much of a hassle and, because of how some items are worded, might deter a citizen from filling the forms out.

Every told the committee during the meeting, specifically toward the new executive director LaKenya Middlebrook, that the protesters would be watching and waiting for these changes to happen.

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