More than a dozen mothers from around the U.S. whose sons or daughters were killed by police, or who died while in police custody were joined by several hundred protesters in a “Million Mom March” to the steps of the Justice Department on Saturday to demand sweeping police reforms, reports the Washington Post. “Not another life. Not another son. Not another daughter. We will not stop. We cannot stop until the killing ends,” pastor Traci Blackmon, of Ferguson, Mo., shouted to the mournful and angry crowd. “We have come here because a blue uniform does not make you God.” The march, not associated with a Million Mom March to protest gun violence in 2000, was organized on a shoestring by Maria Hamilton, who founded Mothers for Justice United in Milwaukee after her son, Dontre, 31, was shot and killed by a police officer in 2014. Dontre Hamilton, who had a history of mental illness, had been sleeping in a park when employees from a nearby Starbucks called the police to complain three times. A scuffle with a police officer who responded ended when he shot Hamilton 14 times.
“This is something that had to be done,” she said, noting that, in many of the cases, including Dontre's, the officers have gone unpunished. On Saturday, the mainly African-American mothers and a diverse crowd of marchers waited on a hot day for nearly an hour to deliver their 13 demands for police reform: They want the Justice Department to compile a public directory of all officer-related deaths in the past five years, as data like that is hard to come by; to require independent investigations when someone's been shot or killed by a police officer; body cameras and better training; and to put an end to racial profiling and arming local police with military-style weapons. Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the Justice Department, took the demands, promised that the department would review them and spoke briefly to the crowd.