More than 100 protesters descended on the Boone County Courthouse Saturday demanding Columbia police arrest the man they suspect of shooting Brandon Coleman.
Coleman, 25, was shot and killed on May 19 during an altercation. Police initially labeled the shooting a justifiable homicide but recently said a clerk accidentally mislabeled the report as such. Police have not made any arrests in the matter nor have they released any details about a suspect. They have sent the investigation to the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's office for review. Protesters say Coleman was armed but never drew his weapon during the confrontation.
Speaking at Saturday's rally, Pam Hardin, 1st Vice President of the Columbia NAACP chapter, said Columbia police should arrest and charge the suspect and then let a jury decide whether the suspect is guilty rather than judging the situation themselves. She said if Coleman, who was black, had shot the suspect, who is white, Coleman would have been arrested and charged immediately, a point several speakers returned to.
"Jim Crow, Junior, is alive and well today," Hardin said.
Coleman's mother, Winona Coleman-Broadus, told the crowd police have treated her very poorly ever since the shooting. She said police have refused to answer any of her questions about the investigation and have not spoken with witnesses she knows. Coleman-Broadus told reporters her son was trying to help his best friend, who had gotten into an altercation with his girlfriend's father who did not approve of their interracial relationship. She said Columbia police have told her it is their position that Brandon Coleman was "looking for trouble" the night he died.
Lorenzo Lawson, the executive director of the Youth Empowerment Zone and a pastor who spoke at Saturday's rally, told attendees to stay tuned for additional events in the wake of the rally.
Columbia Police did not return a call for comment.