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Shoals group holds “die in” to protest police brutality

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Demonstrators lay in the middle of Court Street in Florence as part of a "die in" to help bring attention to police brutality. (Carter Watkins/ WHNT News 19)

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) –  28 rallies against police brutality are taking place across the country, on a day when we observe the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  A group of Shoals residents gathered to demand equal justice by holding a “die in” on the steps of the Lauderdale County Courthouse.

The North West Shoals Action Committee observed four and a half minutes of silence Monday, laying on the cold, hard pavement.

The group wants to make it known they stand against excessive force and police brutality.

“We`re here to put the system on notice that we`re done asking. Now we`re telling. We`re not going to put up with this,” stated Sonja Zelada, an organizer with The North West Shoals Action Committee.

The action committee says police killed 130 unarmed people in the U.S. in 2014.

They want to see fair law enforcement policies put in place across the country that would hold officers responsible for misconduct.

Zelada said the rallies are not anti-police, just equal justice.

“We realize that there are good police officers here in Florence and across this country who do their jobs with honor, respect, and dignity,” Zelada explained. “This not about them. This is about the bad apples that make their jobs harder and more dangerous.”

Members of the group said all lives are special, no matter what their nationality, race or religion.

The Coalition Against Police Violence organized the events across the country Monday.

They said putting pressure on elected officials is the only way to bring lasting change in human rights and police accountability.