HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: The officer involved in the incident has been reassigned, the Homewood police posted to Facebook.
A woman featured in a viral video is speaking out.
Brenda Rivers was detained in a Homewood Walmart on December 1st. Police said at the time that she matched the description of a felony theft suspect, but Rivers was innocent.
In the video, you can see officers handcuff Rivers, then placed her on the floor. A small crowd then forms around the scene, telling the officers that she is not the person who stole the wallet in the felony complaint.
Since then, Homewood police have launched an internal investigation, but say they found no wrongdoing. In a statement, they apologized to Rivers and her family for the embarrassment.
“I want to thank everyone who has prayed for me. I don’t think I could have made it without the prayers,” Rivers told a crowd of a few dozen people who gathered to pray outside at Homewood City Hall on Wednesday night.
For many of her supporters, it was the first time they had seen her in person since the video was posted, gathering thousands of shares and launching protest against the police department.
Organizers of the rally and other protest say that they met with Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer Wednesday night, in what they called in a “productive” meeting.
Still, they say they want to see more action taken to and short something like this does not happen again. They believe Rivers was targeted because she is black.
“I want to see us come together in unity, as a community,” Rivers said. “We can’t be selfish in our prayers. I’m praying for everybody.”