Black Lives Matter vigil, rally held in CT on Thursday - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Black Lives Matter vigil, rally held in CT on Thursday

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Hartford protesters block Main Street during a Black Lives Matter rally Thursday evening. (WFSB) Hartford protesters block Main Street during a Black Lives Matter rally Thursday evening. (WFSB)
The vigil will be held at All Souls New London Unitarian Universal Church. (WFSB file) The vigil will be held at All Souls New London Unitarian Universal Church. (WFSB file)
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

Crowds gathered in parts of the state on Thursday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, following two deadly officer-involved shootings in other parts of the country.

In Hartford on Thursday evening, protesters marched to the Hartford Police Department before blocking traffic in the city.

The protesters were chanting "Black Lives Matter" as they marched.

"We are here to say enough is enough," said activist Cornell Lewis.

"We pause out of respect, another life has died. We say their names, we remember lives are short. I want to thank them for keeping it peaceful," said Bishop John Selders of Amistad UCC.

Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said the Hartford Police Department has worked diligently for years to reach out to the community, but incidents like the ones in Minnesota and Louisiana are emotional for everyone.

"I understand that our residents are scared, not necessarily what's going on in Hartford but what's going on on a national level," Foley said.

Earlier in the day, a vigil in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement was held at All Souls New London Unitarian Universal Church in New London.

Prayer and song united in remembrance of the two black men, who were recently killed by armed police officers.

"Incidents like this travel everywhere," Anthony Nolan, of New London, said. "People have concern in regards to what goes on in the world in each state, so it's not just something happening down there. It affects people up here."

Philando Castle was shot and killed by an officer in Minnesota and after the incident, his fiancee streamed his death on Facebook Live. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by officers in Baton Rouge. The investigation regarding the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Sterling has been handed over to the FBI.  

Rally organizers said the concern is this is indicative of a cultural problem nationwide.

"If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem," rally organizer Andy Derr said. 

Following the deadly officer-involved shootings, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said "every mayor in the nation dreads a comparable incident."

“I join the entire New Haven community in shock and sadness after the recent, deadly violence – so graphically documented – in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Heartsick only begins to describe how I feel: this is every mother’s worst fear and I grieve for the loved ones of these men,” Harp said in a statement on Thursday.

Harp went on to say that New Haven "is fortunate to have well-trained, highly disciplined police personnel on duty." She added that they are "greatly reducing the risk of a similar circumstance here.”

A Black Lives Matter protest is planned for Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the New Haven green.

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