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Protesters March In Downtown Baltimore; Paint 'Defund The Police' On Gay Street Outside City Hall

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Demonstrators in downtown Baltimore left a message Friday for local leaders outside City Hall; protesters painted along Gay Street, "Defund The Police" in large lettering.

Chopper 13 was over the scene.

This comes as protests across America continue following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Those who marched said they want to see reallocation of police funding to help with other programs in Baltimore.

"We're out here today because we believe Baltimore City should defund the Baltimore Police Department by 50 percent, and invest those funds into areas the community needs," Michaela Brown, of Organizing Black, said.

"What we do know is there are programs... Baltimore Ceasefire, Safe Streets... that do work, that are starved of resources. We know that crime happens because people lack resources," Ralikh Hayes, Deputy Director of Organizing Black, said.

Hundreds marched from the City Jail to City Hall before they stopped in front of the War Memorial. Local artists and several organizations painted for more than four hours.

This comes as members of Baltimore City Council met with the Baltimore Police Department for a multi-million dollar budget hearing that will get voted on Monday.

Some protesters said they want to see that money go elsewhere.

"We need housing, we need healthcare, we need mental health services," Gabriela Sevilla, of Homeless Person Representation Project, said.

"Education or social support or things that could make there less of a need for police in Baltimore," Jacob Ado said.

As hundreds watched closely, the mural was made to support black lives, painted by people of every color.

"We're here to join together as one, not against one another," Annu Singleton said.

Many hope the words and the message will be seen long after the protests are over.

"They're understanding what black people have struggled for, for over 400 years. The same fight for equality, fight for humanity, fight for equality," Joe Knights said.

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