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updated: 8/22/2014 5:56 PM

Second rally taking place Saturday in Elgin

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  • Traci Ellis

      Traci Ellis

  • Jeff Swoboda

      Jeff Swoboda

 
 

A rally calling for justice in the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown will take place Saturday in Elgin.

Brown, 18, was fatally shot by a white police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

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The groups Occupy Elgin and Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice are organizing the rally at 1 p.m. at the corner of Kimball Street and Grove Avenue in Elgin.

Traci Ellis, an attorney and board member for Elgin Area School District U-46, said she plans to attend.

"There are some issues that I think are worthy of making sure people have an awareness of," she said. "I want people to stop and think about it."

Too many unarmed black men are killed in confrontations with police across the country, Ellis said.

"I am beside myself as the mother of two young black men, and as a woman who is married to a black man," she said. "This is an urgent issue for me and society as well."

Saturday's won't be the first rally held for Brown in Elgin.

An impromptu rally, also calling for justice in the Brown case, took place Aug. 16, the day the governor of Missouri imposed a curfew on the city of Ferguson.

That rally was held around midnight, coinciding with the beginning of the curfew, said resident Corey Battles, adding he will take part in Saturday's rally as well.

"We figured since their voices were no longer to be heard at 12 o'clock, we would organize a peaceful rally at 12 o'clock in unison with the people of Ferguson," he said.

"It's not just the Brown situation, but the injustices across (the country) and especially in the urban communities."

A St. Louis County grand jury began reviewing evidence in the Brown case earlier this week. The proceedings could take weeks.

Battles and Ellis said they want to remain active and push for social justice even after the Ferguson case is resolved.

Battles said he wants to create a community-based organization that will give a voice to all residents, not just blacks, and build bridges with the police department.

"The plan is to be able to set up a design for people to come together and voice their needs and concerns in the Elgin community," Battles said.

Ellis said she wants to push for legislation requiring all deaths connected to police shootings to be investigated independently, and all police officers equipped with front-facing cameras.

Both Battles and Ellis said no community can consider itself immune from potential incidents of unjustified police shootings.

"In the right conditions, what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, can happen anywhere in this country," Ellis said. "We have an excellent police department, but it only takes one officer or two officers."

Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said the police department spends a great deal of time and resources training officers in "shoot vs. don't shoot" scenarios.

"While I would never predict what could or could not happen in Elgin, I am confident that we hire smart people, explain to them our philosophy of working with the community, train them routinely and then hold them accountable for the decisions they make," he said.

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