CLAYTON, Mo. — Dozens of people showed up to a rally in Clayton Wednesday night to call for an end to racial discrimination.
People held signs like with phrases like 'Black Lives Matter', 'No Justice, No Peace' and 'Black is not a crime'.
“I’m saying black lives matter. It’s not something that any of us needs to question, but unfortunately we have to keep saying it," Rachel Valenti said.
The rally comes after a group of incoming Washington University students, all black, were stopped by police and accused of dining and dashing at a Clayton IHOP. Police stopped the students after a worker reported the crime, but when officers escorted them back to the restaurant a worker told them they weren't the group who dined and dashed.
"In the moment it was frustrating. I guess I was calm, but aware of the situation and the history," said Teddy Washington, one of the men accused of dining and dashing.
Valenti, who has lived near Clayton for almost 10 years, says it was her responsibility to come out to the event and make things right for the black community.
"I'm here because I think we need to speak up. There too much going on in our own community but in our country broadly, she said.
While Washington says he's pleased with the support, he hopes the movement continues and forces police to make a change in their policies within African American communities.
"I think if we're looking to fix this problem as far as racial profiling as a whole just consistency and coming out and talking about it and having events like this is exactly what we need to do," Washington said.
Last week, the city of Clayton issued an apology to the students. In a letter, city officials vowed to offer more racial sensitivity training to officers.
At the rally on Wednesday, supporters signed a petition that will be delivered to the mayor, the board of alderman and the police chief. It called for an end to racial targeting for men of color. You can see the petition online here.