Local memorial service honors George Floyd, others killed by police

Nearly 100 people gathered in Dayton’s Courthouse Square for a multi-faith memorial service for those killed by police. The service was sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25, but it honored others who had lost their lives.

Among those gathered in Courthouse Square were about a dozen grieving mothers of sons who had been killed by police all over Ohio.

Sabrina Jordan’s son Jamarco McShann was shot and killed by Moraine police in his car in 2017.

A federal judge this year dismissed a lawsuit the family filed in McShann’s death.

“The first time I saw the video of George Floyd’s death, it took me back to that day when I found out my son had been killed,” Jordan said of her son.

Jordan said that she has been fighting for years so that other mothers don’t have to experience the same pain she has. She said she was upset that it took a loss of another life for things to start to change and the movement to gain momentum.

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“We’ve been mad and angry, but this is what we’ve needed all along… support,” Jordan said.

Jordan encouraged those at the memorial service to support bills currently being considered in the Ohio Statehouse about mandatory de-escalation and mandatory bias training for police.

The mother of Dontae Martin spoke briefly. Martin was shot 13 times by Montgomery County deputies and killed in his car in 2015. The county settled a lawsuit with Martin’s family for $900,000 last year.

Dionne Burney, the mother of Ke’Sharn Burney, said she and other mothers “demand police stop killing our sons.”

Ke’Sharn Burney was shot multiple times by deputies in 2017. The 25-year-old was fired on after allegedly ramming a police officer with his vehicle as the officer and the deputy took part in a law enforcement operation to catch suspected drug dealers.

“The men leave behind children,” Dionne Burney said. “I’ve got a 5-year-old grandson who asked me, ‘GG, are the police going to kill me?’”

The mother of Charles Moore III was also present. Moore died from injuries sustained during a car crash in Dayton after being followed by an undercover sheriff’s vehicle. She questioned why her son was even pursued in the first place.

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A Better Dayton Coalition organized the memorial service for those in the community who didn’t or couldn’t protest, but wanted to be a part of the movement. The event started off with readings from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Those in attendance bowed their heads, put their hands in the air and swayed. The crowd chanted “We are one.”

Many speakers were local religious leaders. In addition to those speaking, many in the crowd were members of the clergy.

“God has been weeping a long time,” said Reverend Sherry Gale of Grace United Methodist Church. “The divine within us has been weeping a long time.”

Bishop Richard Cox of Parenthood Ministries said unrest won’t stop until there is equality.

“What can we do but protest, raise hell and fight back?” Cox said. “We’re going to march until black don’t have to go back, until brown can stick around, until yellow can mellow and until the red man can get ahead. We are going to keep marching.”

Cox and other speakers also denounced the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital on the west side of Dayton. The hospital closed in 2018.

“We’re going to hold the mayor and city commissioners accountable,” Cox said.

Bishop Jerome McCorry told those in Courthouse Square to vote their conscious in November.

“We cannot vote what is familiar,” McCorry said, “and just because you’re my color, does not mean you are my kind. My kind would not take everything but a grocery store on the west side.”

McCorry said the church should hold the state accountable for its actions.

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“We need a revolution in values, and we need to invest in that which truly matters,” said Pastor Chad White of The Word Church.

White said that there is racism in the education system, the health care system and the political system in Dayton. White said the black community is “the first to get sick and the last to get treated.”

“How can you catch a criminal in the street if you can’t catch a criminal in your own law enforcement?” White said.

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