HARRISBURG, Pa. - As the community awaits a decision in the shooting of Earl Shaleek Pinckney, demonstrators rallied Saturday in his honor, once again demanding reforms within the police department.
Once again, Kim Thomas, Pinckney's mother, railed against negative perceptions from her son's prior run-ins with the law, which family and activists are concerned will have undue influence on the pending investigation by the Dauphin County district attorney into whether charges will be filed against the officers in the case.
"They'll turn negativity that was done in his back past to identify that it was justice for them what was done," Robert King, Pinckney's uncle, said. "That's not justice."
Once again, Thomas denied the account from Harrisburg police about the events leading up to the moment an officer shot and killed Pinckney on August 7.
But amidst the anger, she reflected on the community support she has been given in the last two weeks.
"There's kids coming up to me saying Shaleek gave me a dollar, I miss him," Thomas said. "People [are] always telling me that they love him, [so] y'all can't say nothing bad about him."
And that's why friends and family members are trying to get people to remember him for the positive impacts they say he made in their lives and the lives of others.
"He changed his whole life around," King said. "He went from a boy to a man real quick, had a baby, his whole life changed, and it got taken from him that quick with a snap of a button."
Thomas and demonstrators took the moment to try and rally community members to stop being bystanders and engage with their community.
"Stop being scared," she said. "No one has to be scared in Harrisburg. We all have to stick together. We all have to get strong. We are a family even if you think that we're not."
A memorial service for Pinckney is set for Monday. A gofundme page has been set up to collect donations for the family.