Community members host Sunday night vigil, discuss police brutality and training

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria community honored two people on Sunday night, 13-year-old Adam Toledo of Chicago and 20-year-old Daunte Wright of Minnesota, who who were both shot and killed by police officers.

Community members lit candles at a vigil at the Gateway Building near the Peoria riverfront.

“Why I am here today is hopes that somebody can see us as human beings and the police can see us as human souls that have lives that are important,” said vigil organizer Ezrna Collins.

Speakers gave speeches, read poems, and played songs.

“We have the power, for there is no law without order,” said Collins.

One local activist voiced an opinion on police brutality and gun violence and said the deaths are preventable and training plays a big role.

“20 years of experience and training somebody that day she shot Daunte Wright with the taser but we all know it was a gun. Clearly, they are not doing enough training, they are not doing enough background checks on these people and it’s sad, it could have been preventable,” said Collins.

Local activist Kristen Meierkord said understanding the problem and getting all members of the community to work together is when real change will happen.

“If I want to help with these issues then I have to live amidst these issues and I think our city’s leadership doesn’t understand that. None of them were here today,” said Meierkord.

City leadership aside, Meierkord said the next generation is the way of the future.

“I just want them to keep going because it is our youth that are going to lead us forward,” said Meierkord.

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