“My brother was killed in his sleep and we’re all out here to make sure the officer goes to jail,” Carniellius Branton, the older brother of Levonia Riggins explains the reason for their protest.
The aggrieved Black community of Clair-Mel, Hillsborough has been on the streets for past six days to state their displeasure about the killing of Levonia Riggins, an unarmed Black man.
Riggins was shot by a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy after his house was raided upon a tip off for allegedly dealing in drugs. Though the police didn’t find enough trace of evidence which substantiates their claim, the life of the young Black man wasn’t spared. Riggings was shot in his bedroom through the window by the officer.
Friends, family, and loved ones have demonstrated solidarity for their Black brother since the incident happened on Tuesday. But on Monday, the aggrieved community members upgraded their protest.
Some 30 demonstrators gathered at the Tampa Family Health Center near the Causeway Boulevard and S 78th Street crossroads at about 12 noon and marched to the Get and Go Food Mart, the place Riggins worked until his sudden demise.
The angry protesters stood at the S 78th Street and continued to chant words of solidarity and a call for justice. They held placards with inscriptions such as “Rest in Peace,” “Jail Killer Cops.” Protesters could also be heard saying , “Cops in my hood ain’t no good, What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.” The heavy presence of the demonstrators forced the police to close that section of the road to motorists for about 3 hours.
Carniellius Braton, the older brother of Riggins lamenting over the death of his brother said, “My brother was killed in his sleep and we’re all out here to make sure the officer goes to jail.”
Pastor Andrew Joseph whose 14-year-old son was killed by cops 2 years ago stated his displeasure about the police brutalities. He said, “We’ve been fighting this fight and making baby steps when we should be making giant steps. We have not seen a change in this community. The police don’t look like us and the trust is gone.”
A moment of silence for #LevoniaRiggins killed by Hillsborough County Sheriff (he was unarmed) #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/XBzJfy948N
— tampaforjustice (@Tampa4Justice) September 6, 2016
Demonstrators have said that the protest will continue until an appropriate response is gotten from the police.
We are sick and tired of the rampant brutalities unleashed on us. Black is a race and deserves to live just like any other person. We stand in solidarity with family and friends of Riggins as they mourn their loved one. But we call for action to be taken by the law enforcement to bring the officer to book. We demand justice.