DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Local attorneys returned from Ferguson Sunday after spending some time observing city protests.
The group went to the Missouri city as observers on behalf of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. Their goal was to ensure police were not violating the demonstrator’s constitutional rights.
Shawn McCullers said he’s 6 feet 1 and 300 pounds, but even he was grateful to be wearing a T-shirt notifying police that he was there as an observer.
“But for these T-shirts, it would have turned a troublesome experience into a horrific experience,” said McCullers.
McCullers and three of his colleagues, who are all DeKalb County attorneys, spent a day and a night in the middle of the protests in Ferguson.
"I think it was important to be able to say that I was there. I was on the ground and this is what I saw,” said attorney Jessica Robinson.
The group took hundreds of pictures and dozens of videos to document every step.
"It was very intense. It was a scary situation to see the way the police were moving,” said attorney Mawuli Davis.
"During the day, we saw a different type of Ferguson. We saw police officers in regular uniforms. At night, they transferred into this heavily militarized (group). It just seemed like they were in Afghanistan," said attorney Ecleynne Mercy.
In the end, the group believes what happened in Ferguson could happen anywhere and they say they'll never forget their experience.
McCullers says he plans to always keep his yellow T-shirt.
“Not just the sentimental value of it, but being a part of what I believe is an awakening across the country,” he said.