Rally Against Hate in Lansing is peaceful as protesters fight racism

A peaceful rally against hate was held on the State Capitol in Lansing on Thursday as outrage grows following the deaths of unarmed African-Americans.

While some police officers may be getting a bad name, protesters are trying to keep the conversation about what they say is the real issue: racism.

But some police officers getting a bad name across the country especially in Minneapolis. 

The purpose of Thursday's peaceful rally by the group BLARE (Blacks And Latinos Against Racist Empowerment) was to get rid of hate between the races, educate law-enforcement, and be more gun-friendly.

Detroit firearms instructor and gun rights advocate Rick Ector hosting the rally in Lansing protesting the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky shot dead as police served a warrant at her home for a man already in custody, and for Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, gunned down as a father and son attempted to make a citizen's arrest.

"I think we all need to have an honest conversation about race," said Ecter "If I was somewhere from out of town and someone misidentified me, I would literally fear for my life if the cop started taking me to the ground."

He's referencing, of course, George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died during an arrest by white police officers in Minneapolis.

Linda Lee Tarver says the violence around the country would not have occurred if Floyd had been white but also said there are more white men killed by police.

"There are other instances that we can talk about, but we probably would not be talking about Floyd," Tarver said. "I think there are more white men who are killed by law-enforcement than black."

Michael Lynn, Jr., said they are not anti-cop or anti-gun but they believe they're unfairly targeted if they have a gun in their hands.

"I believe that we get a bad stereotype when they see black people with guns," Lynn said.

Ecter agrees and said he won't hesitate to protect himself is someone breaks through his door.

"I'm against no-knock warrants because if someone comes bursting in my door, I'm going to protect myself. And I would hate to shoot a police officer, but I will," he said.

The purpose of this rally was really more about awareness. But State Senator Jeff Irwin attended the rally and introduced a bill that might have some merit as to what this group is talking about.

"What we need to do here in Michigan, and what they should've done in Minneapolis before Mr. Floyd was killed is, is we should have better police training," he said.

Irwin's bill would be training to recognize police bias and to have mental health screenings for police.