Mothers Who Lost Children To Police Brutality Rally Downtown To Demand Justice, Reform From Police Systems

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A police reform rally Saturday in Daley Plaza focused on the mothers of people wrongly killed by police officers and called for reform in the policing system.

A crowd full of mothers and fathers, community organizers and lawmakers joined Mothers United For Justice, the Zakat Foundation of America, Heartland Alliance and other groups to support mothers who lost their loved ones to police brutality. Many held up pictures and wore t-shirts remembering those lost and signs that read, "Stop police brutality," "I fight for justice," and "Justice for Abel."

Donna Neil-Demir, an organizer with the Mothers United for Justice rally, said mothers of those she claims have been killed as the result of police abuse are often forgotten.

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"These are mothers and there is something very, very personal for a mother to have to lose her child under circumstances where we think our children are going to be protected," Neil-Demir said.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin spoke at the rally about the need to pass federal police reform legislation like the Justice in Policing Act, which would end racial and religious profiling by the police, mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement and require law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities.

"We know that there are systemic problems in our policing system that we need to address," Durbin said on Twitter after the event.

The mother of 21-year-old Abel Rosiles Jr, who died in the ICU after Round Lake Beach police allegedly used excessive force while arresting him inside a gas station June 10, was at the rally holding a picture of her son.

The Rosiles family set up a GoFundMe to help the family pay for funeral expenses. Since June 18, it has raised over $40,000 of its $60,000 goal.

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Neil-Demir said mothers of people killed by police abuse will only get justice if police officers are held fully accountable for their actions. She also said reforms are needed both in police departments and the strategies used to fight crime, so that fewer people are killed by police unjustly.

These actions can make sure rallies like this one are no longer needed, she said.

"Recognize the mothers," she said. "Recognize the injustices that have been one to them and our intention is to propel them forward in their healing process and help them seek justice."