Chattanooga group seeks justice in fatal Ferguson shooting

Chattanooga group seeks justice in fatal Ferguson shooting

August 26th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Adarian Jackson, Jatorian Jackson and Derrick Jackson Jr., from left, hold candles Monday near the Walnut Street Bridge during a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Missouri.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

Gary Mathis, center, sings "This Little Light of Mine" with grandsons Gary Covington, left, and Ricky Covington on Monday near the Walnut Street Bridge during a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Missouri.

Gary Mathis, center, sings "This Little Light of...

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

The pain and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., is the same pain felt in Chattanooga.

This city has a history of people who have died in police custody, said Brian Merrit, an evangelist at Mercy Junction on the Westside.

Until there is justice, there can be no peace, said Merrit.

Merrit, who recently returned from a three-day visit to Ferguson, led more than 50 people here in a memorial service for Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who police fatally shot on Aug. 9. His funeral was held in Ferguson on Monday.

Brown's family called for a day of rest, said Merrit.

The reaction after anger is usually exhaustion, he said. People in Ferguson are tired.

Merrit hosted the local service on the Walnut Street Bridge.

Several ministers prayed for peace and love.

Concerned Citizens For Justice organizer Ash-Lee Henderson said she struggled with words to express the moment.

"This is not the beginning of our upset," she said. "This is the straw that broke the camel's back."

Some 70 people have died in police custody over the years in Chattanooga, according to Concerned Citizens for Justice.

She prayed that God will move people to demand justice and that their demands would be righteous.

"Before we can have reconciliation, there must be justice," she said.

Henderson and other members of Concerned Citizens For Justice will go to Ferguson over the Labor Day weekend.

There goal is to assist other community organizers in creating places for women and children to grieve.

Anna Golladay of St. Mark's United Methodist Church read from Micah 6 in the Bible.

"What does the Lord require of us but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God," she said.

They are actions people should pursue daily, she said.

The service ended with people holding candles under a rose colored cloudy dusk sky while singing "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.