JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of a Black Lives Matter chapter and their supporters rallied Sunday to promote unity and protest the recent shootings of African-Americans by police.
The protest was peaceful as about 300-400 people came out to protest at the Duval County Courthouse and march to City Hall, but Jacksonville police said three people were arrested later in the day after breaking away from the group and blocking traffic on the Main Street Bridge.
Rally participant Joe Jenkins said it’s important to bring attention to police issues and the black community, but also to bring unity.
“Every white person isn’t racist -- every black person isn’t racist -- so we still have a good opportunity to come together as a people and see change in America,” Jenkins said. " I wanted the whole city to come out and voice their opinions."
Another supporter, Montale Scott, believes the solution to better relations between the community and police begins with faith.
"The Bible states that we all must love each other, so that's where I stand," Scott said.
Jenkins said his ultimate hope is that there are other rallies through Florida and the rest of the country.
Most of the group peacefully marched to City Hall, with some continued on the the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Police said Mina Salahshor, 18, Dominique Smith, 25 and Joseph Smith, 21, broke away from the rest of the group and failed to stay on the sidewalk while crossing the Main Street Bridge. They were charged with obstructing a highway and resisting arrest without violence.
Police said three protestors were blocking traffic on the bridge and were arrested after ignoring instructions to get out of the lanes of traffic. As of Monday morning, Joseph Smith was the only one still in jail.