Black Lives Matter meets with Roswell officials hours before protest


Activists from Black Lives Matter Greater Atlanta met with city officials at Roswell City Hall this morning, hours before a protest is set to take place there. 

The group requested the meeting with Mayor Jere Wood and Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant to discuss issues related to the case of Shanita Maeberry, a woman whose jaw was broken earlier this month by a city officer in a struggle during a traffic stop. Maeberry was being placed under arrest after marijuana was found in her purse.

The organization is calling for Officer James Van Alstine, who it says is a liability, to be fired. 

After the meeting, chapter president Sir Maejor Page told reporters, his question for the police chief was, "Why do we have to wait for a murder to be proactive?"

The discussion started off tense and aggressive, Page said, but progressed into a peaceful and civilized dialogue. 

Yet, the protest is still on.

"Tonight what we're going to do is, we're taking our issues —the issues of the black community, the issues of the Shanita Maeberry case — and we're taking them right to the front doorsteps of city hall," Page said. "We're taking this case right to the doorstep of the mayor's house."

The Mayor declined to comment during pending litigation, according to a Roswell spokeswoman. The city did release videos to the media soon after the incident, the spokeswoman said.

According to chapter Vice President Patrick Newbill, the purpose of tonight's protest and "going forward" is to put a sense of urgency in officials. 

"Basically, it's hurry up and wait right now," Newbill said. 

Black Lives Matter Greater Atlanta does not legally represent Maeberry, who did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment. 

However, Page said the group represents the community.

"We represent hundreds and hundreds and thousands of black lives that are accosted every day by law enforcement."

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