The mother of a black man killed during an encounter with police, has led a protest outside the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, with a group of activists to demand justice for her son.
Beverly Smith and a group of activists from various organizations, including Black Lives Matter, called for an end to police violence and what they described as systemic racism.
About two dozen protesters stood outside the Judiciary Square office chanting, “Justice for Zo,” a reference to her son’s nickname.
Alonzo Smith, 27, was found unconscious and in handcuffs following an encounter with two security guards near the Anacostia neighborhood in November.
The guards were working as “special police,” which are armed, have limited arrest powers and are licensed by the government of the District of Columbia (DC).
They protect local and federal government buildings, schools, libraries and apartment complexes.
An autopsy showed Smith suffered “blunt force injuries,” such as abrasions and hemorrhages on his head, neck and torso.
However, federal prosecutors announced Thursday that the officers who detained Smith would not be charged due to insufficient evidence.
Although the medical examiner ruled Smith’s death a homicide, prosecutors said such a determination is “insufficient, in and of itself” to prove that a person is criminally responsible for the death.
Smith’s mother told supporters and reporters outside the prosecutor’s office that she was not satisfied with the explanation.
“They are still not giving me any information, so therefore it’s still a coverup and they are still complicit in my son’s murder,” she said after meeting privately with prosecutors before the official announcement.
Smith’s death came during a time of growing anti-police sentiment across the US due to a surge of unjustified killings of unarmed African Americans over the past few years.