KC Mayor calls for peaceful demonstration on Plaza during rally against police brutality

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Continuing civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., has the African-American community here divided on what action, if any, they should be taking; and on Thursday, at 7 p.m., some Kansas City-area activists have organized a rally against police brutality at  the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain.

As participants prepare, Kansas City Mayor Mayor Sly James posted a video on the city's website urging that any gathering remain peaceful.

The rally on the west side of the state comes as violence continues in Ferguson, near St. Louis.  On  Wednesday night, Ferguson protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police and law enforcement responded with smoke bombs and tear gas. Click here for video from Wednesday night. 

The mayor does not believe violent confrontations with police are going to happen in Kansas City.

"I do have a great deal of confidence in our police force and the way our police department is led by an African American Chief of Police," James told FOX 4 News. "I think it is less likely to happen here. But the spur of the moment incident can happen anywhere."

Some African-Americans in Kansas City say our community has not been without questionable incidents of excessive force, citing victims from years past including: Sophia Salva and Timothy Wilson.

But others say the police relationship in the black community is much improved recently, and they want no part of today's rally.

"We are 40 or 41 homicides in Kansas City right now as opposed to 60 or 62 that we had last year," said Pat Clarke, community outreach specialist for KCPD. "If we are going to rally, we should rally for things like that.

We should be rallying about who killed the 3-year-old and her mother last summer. Who killed some of these other unsolved homicides in Kansas City? We should be outraged about that."

Some on the east side believe a partnership with police is making progress in reducing violence and they don't want to see that disrupted by those acting on emotion. Police Chief Darryl Forte says he has no concerns about Kansas Citians who peacefully protest during difficult times.

"We certainly do need to build trust," Forte said. "We have had a couple of incidents in Kansas City where I think past trust building relationships have paid off. I won't go into detail about the incidents because I don't want to bring them back up. We've had some things in Kansas City since I've been chief where they could have turned really negative but they didn't because we had support from faith-based people and leaders in community."

Other black activists have told FOX 4 News they would like to see the outrage expressed in the African-American community over a police shooting happen every time there's black on black crime.

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