BELOIT, Wis. - Friends and family members of three teens convicted of sexual assualt in September rallied at Riverside Park in Beloit on Saturday morning.
Last month, Tre’roryon Floyd, Mar’kai Payne and Brandon Perry were sentenced to jail time for the sexual assault of a classmate in March 2018.
According to protestors at Saturday's event, the punishment for the three students was too severe. Friends and family said this is especially true when compared to similar punishments given in recent sexual assault cases.
"Ultimately, we want to shine a light on the injustice that these three boys experienced," said Lexi Payton, who helped to organize Saturday's event. "They did what teenage boys do. It was wrong what they did, it was a mistake what they did."
Payton and other protestors said they believe the three boys' African-American race played a role in their sentencing.
"Ultimately, we just want to shine a light on this injustice and get something changed in Rock County," she said. "So that it’s fair and equal sentencing for everyone."
Mar’kai Payne and Brandon Perry are currently serving a one-year jail sentence followed by three years of probation for their crimes. Tre’roryon Floyd, who committed an armed robbery during time spent on bail, was sentenced to five years in prison and five years extended supervision.
"It still doesn’t sit right with me," said Maliyah Payne, who is related to Mar'kai Payne and helped organize Saturday's event. "That’s why we’re here today continuing trying to just get a light shined."
Religious and political leaders were invited to speak at Saturday's event, including Chris Walton, chairman of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party.
"We’ve seen a lot throughout American history of African-American men being really thrown the book at for the same amount of crime that a white person would not get the same amount of time for," Walton said.
News 3 Now could not reach the Rock County District Attorney's Office for comment Saturday.
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