A protestor holds up a sign in the line of cars in Hartford. Protestors stopped their cars on the side of the Main Street in Hartford, and shouted out “Your life matters” and “Black Lives Matter”. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

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Family members of Connecticut residents killed by police officers joined with lobbyists, elected officials and grassroots activists on Saturday, gathering in cities across the state before meeting in Hartford to remember their fallen loved ones and advocate for police to be held accountable for misconduct and violence.

“Everybody has been rallying around police killings in other parts of the country, and kind of forgetting that it’s happening here,” said Joanna Iovino, executive director of Citizens Opposed to Police States, one of the groups that participated in the caravan and rally. “We want to bring awareness that it’s not just something happening across the rest of the country, it’s happening here, too.”

According to the Connecticut Post, there have been 76 inquiries into police use of deadly force or deaths in police custody since 2001. Just one cop has been charged. He was not convicted.

Activists met in cities across the state Saturday morning before coming together in Keney Park in the early afternoon. They then led a caravan through Hartford before rallying at the Capitol. Supporters of President Donald Trump also gathered in Hartford Saturday to advocate for the president to serve a second term, despite having lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden, because they believe he is the rightful winner.

Included among the demonstrators were representatives from Power Up Manchester, the People’s Coalition of Central Connecticut and Summer of Solutions. Also participating were individuals from groups demanding justice for victims of police violence, including Mubarak Soulemane, Jose Soto, Steven Barrier, Zoe Dowdell and Jayson Negron.

Yehyun joined CT Mirror in June 2020 as a photojournalist and a Report For America Corps Member. Her role at CT Mirror is to tell visual stories about the impact of public policy on individuals and communities in Connecticut. Prior to joining CT Mirror, Yehyun photographed community news in Victoria, Texas and was a photo and video intern at USA TODAY and at Acadia National Park in Maine. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Yehyun was born and raised in South Korea.

Kelan is a Report For America Corps Member who covers the intersection of mental health and criminal justice for CT Mirror. Before joining CT Mirror, Kelan was a staff writer for City Weekly, an alt weekly in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a courts reporter for The Bryan-College Station Eagle, in Texas. He is originally from Philadelphia.

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