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Protesters ask for police reform in wake of recent fatal shooting

Demonstrators gather on the Courthouse Green in downtown Fort Wayne to protest recent fatal shootings by the Fort Wayne Police Department.
Ella Abbott
/
WBOI News
Demonstrators gather on the Courthouse Green in downtown Fort Wayne to protest recent fatal shootings by the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Community members have gathered on the Allen County Courthouse Green today to protest the latest deadly police shooting in Fort Wayne.

Daynisha Warren addresses the crowd to talk about the police reform she's calling for following the death of her daughter, DaCha'ne Warren-Hill, in November.
Ella Abbott
/
WBOI News
Daynisha Warren addresses the crowd to talk about the police reform she's calling for following the death of her daughter, DaCha'ne Warren-Hill, in November.

Protesters lined the sidewalk down South Clinton Street in front of the courthouse this afternoon, calling for police reform in the city following the death of 22-year-old youth worker Linzell Parhm Saturday night.

But the conversation is also focused on a broader issue of what some say is police using deadly force too quickly. Last year, DaChe’na Warren-Hill was shot and killed by a FWPD officer after police had been called for a domestic disturbance.

DaChe’na’s mother, Daynisha Warren, says her daughter was being abused by her boyfriend and was trying to get away from him when FWPD claimed she tried to run over an officer.

Protestors held signs up towards passing cars on South Clinton Street, receiving honks of support, and wrote similar slogans in chalk along the sidewalk.
Ella Abbott
/
WBOI News
Protestors held signs up towards passing cars on South Clinton Street, receiving honks of support, and wrote similar slogans in chalk along the sidewalk.

“I feel like the aggression is not needed, it just escalates the situation and nine times out of 10, when you’re aggressive, you’re gonna get aggression back. So, reform needs to happen as far as how they handle their code and conduct,” Warren said.

Her family feels that body cam footage released in February does not show DaChe’na trying to run the officer over when he shot the side of her car.

At the protest, organizers were handing out free water, offering supplies to make signs and encouraging people to sign a petition calling on Mayor Sharon Tucker to look into police reform.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, city officials say the mayor is committed to working with the police and the community to providing the best services possible.

Protesters began congregating on the lawn around noon and stayed for several hours, before coming together at one corner of the green to hear from several speakers from around the community, including people who knew Parhm personally.

A childhood friend of Linzell Parhm spoke during the rally as well, remembering her friend and expressing her grief and fear.
Ella Abbott
/
WBOI News
A childhood friend of Linzell Parhm spoke during the rally as well, remembering her friend and expressing her grief and fear.

“He’s smart, he’s intelligent, he works with the kids and it really hurt me to hear that Linzell was gunned down by the police. It didn’t make sense when I heard it, it really just didn’t make sense.”

Other speakers encouraged a peaceful response to these deaths, rather than becoming violent.

“While I share in your outrage and your grief, I urge every single one of us not to stoop to the level of violence, because violence begets more violence.”

One woman encouraged the crowd to sing the gospel song ‘We Shall Overcome.’

Warren closed out the comments with a moment of silence for her daughter; Parhm; TJ Haney, killed by police in 2013; Shaquille Kelly, killed by police in 2019; and Wyatt Beckler, killed in 2022 in what appeared to be suicide-by-cop.

Protesters stayed by the side of the road for a bit after the speeches before dispersing.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.