Rally 4 Change brings attention to injustice in Lima


By Sam Shriver - sshriver@limanews.com



Taylor Pennington, right, hugs Joeann Brown at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.

Taylor Pennington, right, hugs Joeann Brown at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.


Amanda Wilson -The Lima News

Jose Maldonado speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.

Jose Maldonado speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.


Amanda Wilson -The Lima News

Joeann Brown speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.


Amanda Wilson -The Lima News

LIMA — Dozens of people gathered in Lima’s Town Square on Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of a perceived pattern of injustice in Lima.

The Rally 4 Change was organized by the group calling themselves Operation Change Lima.

“It’s a group of myself and other activists who have been noticing the things that have taken place even more recently. But we decided to come together and actually pull the community together. So that we can give the directly impacted people an opportunity to speak about their stories,” said Taylor Pennington, organizer of the rally.

“In my opinion, the people who are most affected, a lot of times they don’t get an opportunity to use their voice, they’re unheard,” Pennington said.

The mother of Mekhi Williams, Joeann Brown was there to decry what she felt was the injustice her son suffered at the hands of Zachary Copeland back in November of last year.

Williams was shot and killed by Copeland after Williams wrestled a gun away from Copeland. While Williams pointed the gun at Copeland, Copeland had a second weapon and shot and killed Williams.

An Allen County Grand Jury refused to indict Copeland for the shooting.

“If there was a black man that shot him, he would still be in jail, charged, up the river and going to prison,” Brown said.

Money raised by donations during the event was to be donated to the family of Mekhi Williams.

The brother of Juan Freeman was there also, upset over the sentence his brother received. Freeman was 17 when he committed an armed robbery and received a minimum of 28 years in prison.

“He hasn’t always made the right decisions, however, he is a kid and you shouldn’t throw a kid’s life away versus getting them rehabilitation,” said Quinton Holly.

Pennington wants public officials to acknowledge there have been some disparities with the charging and sentencing of people.

“The clearest example is the lack of charging Zachary Copeland in the murder of Mekhi Williams and the most recent sentencing of Juan Freeman, who was sentenced to 30 years (in prison), which is the equivalent of life, in my opinion, for armed robberies. Instead, he was just sentenced to 30 years in prison, where we have Zachary Copeland, who actually killed a teenager while he was seeking vigilante justice. He went home the same night,” Pennington said.

Jose Maldonado, the 19-year-old who was tased recently at Taco Bell by Lima police also spoke at the rally.

“We shouldn’t be treated like this. We are all human beings. We have a heart. We all have blood flowing through our veins. We all got flesh. Our hands get ashen when we work hard. Our body hurt. We all cry. We all laugh. We all get mad,” Moldonado said. “I know somebody’s going to bring change to this world. If it’s not somebody else, it’s going to be me.”

Taylor Pennington, right, hugs Joeann Brown at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/05/web1_rallyforchange-1-2-4.jpgTaylor Pennington, right, hugs Joeann Brown at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon. Amanda Wilson -The Lima News
Jose Maldonado speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/05/web1_rallyforchange-2-4.jpgJose Maldonado speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon. Amanda Wilson -The Lima News
Joeann Brown speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/05/web1_rallyforchange-4-4.jpgJoeann Brown speaks at the Rally 4 Change in the town square on Saturday afternoon. Amanda Wilson -The Lima News

By Sam Shriver

sshriver@limanews.com

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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