Protest march planned for downtown Wichita

Troy K. Lanning, 24, was killed by Wichita police officer Randy Williamson, who is no longer on the force.
Troy K. Lanning, 24, was killed by Wichita police officer Randy Williamson, who is no longer on the force. Courtesy photo

A “March for Justice” is planned for downtown Wichita on Thursday night.

Organizers plan to start the protest march at 6 p.m. at Douglas and Broadway.

A Facebook page promoting the event states the march has “a single demand: Arrest the police officers who have committed crimes against this community.”

A flyer announcing the march lists nine people who have died in officer-involved shootings over the past four years in Wichita and one in rural Cowley County. While official rulings have not been made in every case, most have been declared justified by either the Sedgwick County district attorney or the Cowley County attorney.

One exception is the shooting death of Troy Lanning on April 1, 2012, by Wichita police Officer Randy Williamson.

After reviewing the case, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett announced his office “cannot and will not clear the officer in the shooting death of Troy Lanning.

“Conversely, the available evidence does not provide a sufficient basis to establish that the officer did not act reasonably under Kansas law.”

The Lanning case remains open, and his name is among those listed in the protest march’s flyer. Williamson is no longer a Wichita police officer and is the subject of ongoing court cases.

“In over 2 years of work on this issue, we have heard scores of stories of police brutality, violence and abuse,” the flyer promoting the march states. “Join us as we demand justice for the families, cameras on police, more mental health training, a citizens’ review board with subpoena power and a change in state law that allows police to kill with impunity.”

Protesters are being encouraged to bring signs and wear T-shirts bearing slogans such as “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the death of Eric Garner in New York, and “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” — a reference to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Interim Police Chief Nelson Mosley mentioned the downtown protest in remarks on Wednesday, saying police officials encourage peaceful demonstrations.

“It’s everyone’s right to voice their opinion,” Mosley said.

But police will be ready to “take action” if the protests aren’t peaceful, he said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.