SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of people gathered at the Springfield Police Headquarters Friday afternoon for a peaceful protest in honor of George Floyd.
The protest is to show justice and support for George Floyd and to call for change.
Mylaia Miller a Springfield resident told 22News, “Black people don’t do anything to anybody and here we are the biggest targets. People are terrified of black people, for what because we are a different skin color? It’s time for us to start standing up and say something. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it.”
According to the Associated Press, 46-year-old George Floyd died in police custody this week. He was arrested Monday after an employee at a grocery store called police to accuse him of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
Cellphone video from a bystander showed Floyd lying on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back while the officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee down on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. While being restrained, Floyd was saying he couldn’t breathe. Toward the end of the video, paramedics arrived, lifted Floyd, who was limp, onto a stretcher, and place him in an ambulance.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, one of four officers fired after George Floyd’s death, was arrested and charged with murder Friday.
One person at the Springfield protest said Chauvin’s arrest is not enough. “The truth is it’s much bigger than that officer. It’s a system as a whole that needs to be adjusted” said Zulmalee Rivera.
Chauvin, the former officer seen in a bystander video Monday kneeling on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. He had worked with the Minneapolis police for 19 years.
A Minneapolis police precinct was evacuated overnight after protesters rushed into the building and began setting fires in response to Floyd’s death. People around the world have also taken to social media expressing their anger and disappointment in the situation. A petition has been started on Change.org for Floyd and so far 4,956,796 have signed it. The petition is aiming for a goal of 6,000,000 to sign.