WASHINGTON - More than a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked to the Department of Justice Thursday to protest the recent shootings of black men by police and demanded action from Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The demonstration comes just days after two police shootings in Charlotte and Tulsa and less than two weeks after Terrence Sterling was shot by police in Washington D.C.
The lawmakers leading the protest included two longtime members of Congress, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). They want the attorney general to do everything in her power to halt the shootings of unarmed black men.
"The killing of unarmed black men and women by police is a crisis,” said Rep. Maxine Water (D-Calif.). “It is an emergency and it is not just affecting those victims and families of those who are killed. It is affecting every black man and woman who wonders when they or someone they know will be killed next.”
The members of the caucus came with a letter for the attorney general, which Waters read in full at a news conference held outside the Department of Justice.
"It is time for the Department of Justice to take aggressive action and put an end to what appears to be the targeting and profiling of black people that result in their deaths,” she said.
Waters read a list of now very familiar names of black men shot by the police, but did not include the name of Terrence Sterling, the Fort Washington, Maryland man shot by D.C. police on Sept. 11 as he rode his motorcycle in Northwest D.C.
We wondered if the Rep. Waters had heard about the case.
"I asked my staff to put together the most recent names and they obviously missed that,” she said. “We are going to not only go back and deal with all of the over, we believe, 200 people that have been killed by law enforcement officers in 2016. And we will certainly pick up Mr. Sterling because you are right.”
On Monday, Steven Douglass and a friend went to D.C. police headquarters where they protested Sterling’s death. On Thursday evening, they plan to do the same at 3rd and M Streets in Northwest D.C.
"It deserves a lot of attention,” said Douglass. “This young man was a great young man, was a great friend, was a man just in itself – with humility and integrity – that is the person he was. He deserves this.”
Sterling and Douglass were friends. More than anything, he wants some accountability from the D.C.’s mayor and the police.
"We have bullies with badges,” Douglass said. “We have bullies in blue and those bullies have put a blanket over the top of good officers because there are many out here that come to work and put their life on the line for us on an everyday basis and they are taking away from the great job that they do.”