Protesters rally in Center City against police brutality

Monday, December 22, 2014
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The deaths of the two police officers in Brooklyn were on the minds of protestors Sunday night in Center City.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The ambush of two New York City police officers has been tied to the recent wave of protests against the deaths of black men at the hands of white police. And now Philadelphia Police have weighed in on how they will staff the rallies moving forward in light of tragedy.

A march went throughout the city Sunday night, starting near City Hall and moving to the Art Museum.

It was one of the largest protests against social injustice and police brutality we've seen in the city. And like other protest, this one was peaceful.

It was called the Blackout Philly march. Nearly a thousand people rallied Sunday evening demanding change in the wake up of the police related deaths of black men in this country.

Stephen Mair of Center City tells us, "Whatever you are - black, white, Hispanic - it doesn't matter. It's about supporting one another and finding the root of the cause."

The mother of 26-year-old Brandon Tate Brown who was shot killed by Philadelphia Police during a Mayfair traffic stop last week was also there.

Police say the man reached for a gun in his car.

Brown's mother, Tanya Dickerson, says, "The cops made their decision and their decision is law. This cannot keep happening."

This march was planned long before the tragic killings of two NYPD officers, which was a possible revenge shooting for the deaths of Ferguson teen Michael Brown and Eric Garner of Staten Island.

Demonstrators expressed outrage and denounced the ambush killings.

Charles Carrington of Southwest Philadelphia says, "Yes it did detract. We don't condone that type of behavior. You understand what I'm saying? We're trying to bring everybody together and have a peaceful rally, get our voices heard, get the message out that black lives do matter."

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, head of President Obama's 21st century policing task force, says the rhetoric and the tensions need to calm down.

Ramsey explains, "When it gets too inflamed, the rhetoric gets too inflamed, then people stop listening and they start going at each in a way that nothing gets accomplished."

We've learned President Obama called the police commissioner Sunday evening to express outrage over the cop killings and reiterate his respect and gratitude for law enforcement.

The president said his administration would continue to monitor the situation in New York and support the work of the task force.