Activists push Petersburg police to respond to case of alleged - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Activists push Petersburg police to respond to case of alleged brutality

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Activists are demanding that Petersburg police end, what they are calling, brutality against young black men. At a rally Thursday night, protestors pointed to a recent case of alleged police brutality against a Petersburg teen.

Two weeks ago in the Petersburg East apartment complex, 19-year-old Devin Thomas says, he was attacked then arrested for videotaping police officers, which isn't illegal.

Thomas was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

"We need people to stand up for justice to get the bad cops off the force," said community member Ursula Mathis.

She says, cops like the one who allegedly beat and arrested Thomas need to be prosecuted. That's a sentiment shared by Imam Akbar with the Salvation Nation.

"We think that because he was black he was stereotyped and attacked," said Akbar.

There is a black officer present in Thomas' video tape but Thomas says, the officer who attacked him was white.

Thomas was at the protest but his lawyers have barred him from speaking with the media though he did express gratitude for the support.

Support against, what the group calls, a pattern of police brutality in Petersburg and beyond. According to the Department of Justice, most of America's prison population is black but African Americans comprise only a fraction of the US population.

It's a trend the group hopes to bring attention to with Thomas' video.

Thomas' lawyers say they are focused on getting his charges dropped but at a court hearing last week, the judge said he wouldn't even consider dropping the charges until the case goes to trial next month.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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