FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As the protests enter into week two in Ferguson, Missouri, Fort Wayne community members held their own vigil.
Dozens of people gathered at the Courthouse Green Sunday afternoon to pray for the people in Ferguson and for the young life of Michael Brown that was taken last weekend.
“Ultimately the choice is in the hands of our young black men,” said LaLeta McClure, who’s originally from St. Louis and attended the vigil. “Meaning that we as parents can parent with the utmost values of morality, and the choice is always going to be the choice of our children, and how they choose to live.”
McClure said she’s saddened by the loss of life and that something needs to be done, but violence is not the answer. However, many people at the Courthouse Green said the violence is what made people aware of the problem, nationally.
The prayer service was led by a mother who said she knows the pain going on in Ferguson. Rose Haney’s son, Tavontae Haney, T.J., was shot by police last year. She said her heart breaks for the mother in Ferguson because she still has a lot of unanswered questions about her son’s death.
Haney, 19, was the passenger in a car that was pulled over for a traffic violation on April 27, 2013. For an unknown reason, he and the driver got out of the car and started running. Witnesses from the scene said Haney had his back turned, running away, when he was shot and that he did not have a weapon. However, police said two officers chased after Haney, and ordered him to drop a gun at least twice. According to police, Haney eventually aimed his weapon at officers, and that’s when they shot and killed him. The Allen County Prosecutor’s Office said the officers fired in self-defense and ruled the case justifiable in February.
However, Rose Haney said there are still a lot of questions about that day that she’s never had answered. Haney said she never got her son’s autopsy report or the dash cam video from the police.
“We needed to do something after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri was like a carbon copy of my son’s death at that point I said we needed to do something right here in Fort Wayne,” Haney said. “We’re praying for them in Missouri, but we have this problem in Fort Wayne.”
Police officials said they can’t release any video because there’s a pending lawsuit, so the video is still evidence, and an Allen County coroner said the prosecutor is the person who has to approve the release of the autopsy report. Police did say if any new witnesses come forward, the case can be reopened at any time.