A late afternoon thunderstorm postponed a march on Orlando City Hall to protest how the police handled a massive memorial block party in Parramore last month.
About 1,000 people attended the party that Orlando police shut down after midnight on July 26 with the use of smoke bombs and Orange County deputy sheriffs called in for back-up, according to police and participants.
As the crowd dispersed, police said someone fired a gun in the air and ran away without being caught. No one was arrested and there were no injuries, according to police. Held to remember dead residents, the neighborhood party did not did not have a permit for the gathering.
"All we're saying is there was no need…There was no call for that," said LaWanna Gelzer of the National Action Network Central Florida Chapter before inches of rain flooded Thursday's march route. "This is 2014. You can't just treat people like that anymore."
Thursday's march was scheduled to begin shortly after 5 p.m. Gelzer had received a parade permit complete with the Orlando Police Department's motorcycle unit providing safety at intersections to be crossed by an expected 200 protesters.
By the time the march was supposed to kick off, residents in Parramore on the city's Westside huddled on porches as lightning flashed and cracked so often it was unsafe to be outside. When the storm let up about 6 p.m., Gelzer and about a dozen supporters turned out in ponchos carrying umbrellas along with signs that read "Stand for Justice" and "National Action Network."
Gelzer said they still planned to walk to City Hall despite postponing the march. She hoped to get an extension on the parade permit to march Monday before the city council meeting. The protesters plan to attend the meeting to voice their concerns that police did not allow the crowd to disperse last month without a show of force, she said.
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