COLUMBIA — The local NAACP chapter is planning to hold a rally and march Aug. 3, demanding an arrest be made in connection to the homicide of Brandon Coleman.
Now a month and two weeks into the ongoing investigation of the May 19 shooting that killed Coleman, 25, no arrests have been made and family and friends of Coleman are still seeking answers from police.
The Hickman High School graduate was killed after a disturbance on Ann Street.
The investigation is still on-going. One of main questions in the case is whether the person who killed Coleman was acting in defense of another person.
According to Missouri law under certain circumstances, a person can use physical force upon another person "when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person."
At a meeting Tuesday night at Second Missionary Baptist Church, more than 60 people gathered to discuss where the case stood.
"If you're in favor of having a rally-march on the third of August, please just raise up your hand. ... OK, all right, we're going to have a march," said Mary Ratliff, local NAACP chapter president, after most in the crowd raised their hands.
Tuesday's meeting was the second time the NAACP and community members have gathered to discuss the fatal shooting of Coleman. The initial meeting, held June 18, was called to initiate a conversation between the Columbia Police Department and the family of Coleman and other community members.
The initial meeting, which was mediated by a U.S. Justice Department conciliation specialist and closed to the press, left most people in attendance feeling frustrated and without resolution.
"We said we wanted an arrest in the murder of Brandon Coleman," Ratliff said, referring to discussions at the June meeting. "If that didn't happen, we would be back here planning what our next step will be. ... We felt like we have given enough time for a decision to be made."
The rally will be held at noon on Aug. 3. It is planned to start at the Second Missionary Baptist Church, 407 E. Broadway, and end at the Boone County Courthouse, 705 E. Walnut St.
Volunteer marshals from the community will be appointed and will get training from Rita Valenciano — the conciliation specialist with the Justice Department — to maintain order in the march and ensure that it is both lawful and peaceful.
Community members were appointed for specific tasks such as making signs for the event and setting up webpages to bring attention to the cause. The rally would also include community speakers.
If an arrest is made in connection to Coleman's death prior to the rally, it will be canceled, Ratliff said.
"We are not going to let this case go without justice," Ratliff said. "That is our vow."
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.