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Friday, August 15, 2014 - 3:17pm

Smyrna Man To Host Rally For Ferguson Teen In Atlanta

Georgians across the state are showing solidarity with protestors and police in Ferguson, Missouri. There are several demonstrations happening, including one Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. Darryl Pittman of Smyrna is hosting that rally across the street from Atlanta's Cumberland Mall.

“I’m just an individual who’s seen these types of things go on in the course of my life, and different people- Rodney King, Trayvon Martin-- and I just want my voice heard,” said Pittman. “And I’m just going to stand up for something besides anything that’s not relevant to everyday life. This is something that’s relevant, and I just want my voice to be heard.”

Although the Mike Brown shooting happened hundreds of miles away and he doesn’t have any personal experiences with police brutality, Pittman says the incident still resonates with him. And not only because he is a black male.

The problem, Pittman explains, happens when the police use unnecessary force. He brought up the case of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man killed when a police officer put him in a chokehold. Police initially approached Garner because he was suspected selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.

“ I don’t think using deadly force on somebody who is unarmed, or who’s accused of selling a loose cigarette on the street doesn’t warrant someone to die,” said Pittman. “Or be shot for that. You have a Taser, you could Taser them. You could simply put them under arrest in handcuffs. You can restrain them. But you don’t have to choke them or shoot necessarily. Those should be worst-case scenarios.”

Pittman’s main goal this weekend is to spread awareness about situations like the Mike Brown case, regardless of race. He’s familiar with opinions that white people can’t relate to experiences and challenges that face the black community, especially concerning issues with police brutality. But he says Saturday’s rally is about solidarity.

“And I could {give a} testament even to a time in my life where I was like ‘no, you don’t know what this is. We don’t need your help’ ,” said Pittman. “However, as becoming an older man and living in life, it has to be involved with everybody. Because we need everybody to get the point across that we need this to stop. If a white person wants to join my cause please come on, because we need everybody.”