Witnesses say the man was surrendering, but officials in Rockford, Ill., near Chicago dispute that version of events, saying that Mark Anthony Barmore grabbed for an officer's gun after they cornered him in the church.
This Aug. 25, 2009 photo shows onlookers, including Mark Anthony Barmore's father, Anthony Stevens, second from right, watching as police investigate the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Mark Anthony Barmore, inside the Kingdom Authority International Ministries Church in Rockford, Ill. The NAACP is renewing a call for federal standards on police use of force after what it describes as the police killing of an unarmed man inside a church as day-care children watched. (AP Photo/Rockford Register Star, Amy J. Correnti)
Both sides do agree, however, that Barmore fled when officers approached him in the church parking lot, which highlights the suspicion and fear that can poison relationships between police and minority communities across the country.
"There are no national standards for the use of force (or) training for use of force," Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Friday.
The issue "is not primarily about racism," Jealous said, citing the recent case of a 72-year-old white woman tasered by a white Texas officer during a traffic stop. "We want to make sure the standards are the most modern and appropriate ones possible."
The NAACP scheduled a rally Saturday in Rockford and a march Oct. 3. Jealous was planning to attend both; it would be his first march since taking the NAACP's helm a year ago.
The NAACP is seeking the reintroduction of the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, first offered by John Conyers, D-Mich., in 2000. It was co-sponsored by 34 legislators but was never voted on by the full House.