Updated: Jun 10, 2020
George Floyd yelled to Minneapolis police that he couldn't breathe while under arrest and the impact from that graphic video showing his death continues to choke the nation urging people to protest police brutality and excessive force. Immediately protests sparked in Minneapolis, MN that swept throughout the country. People in Indiana took to the streets of downtown Evansville to show solidarity with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter initiative.
The "I CAN'T BREATHE" chants followed by, "No justice, no peace. Defund the police," pushed a central message and chant that "Black lives matter." Hundreds of people met at the Four Freedoms monument holding signs, banners, and flags to spread the message at the second peaceful protest Evansville held in two weeks.
This protest one person said was just the start and that the next step was to continue getting organized. Many people shared their ideas on an action plan to make sure Black lives are not experiencing excessive force and losing their lives in police custody disproportionately. The crowd was taught about civil rights and what to do while being detained by a police officer. Volunteers also gave out information on constitutional rights of American citizens.
The ninety degree weather was no match for the intensity of the protests.
Some people shared their personal experiences with existing police policies before marching to the Civic Center.
Organizers of the protest led the way backed by a group of people holding "Black Lives Matter" signs. As hundreds of people made their way up the path Evansville Police barricaded for the protest they were monitored by Evansville Police, and reportedly the National Guard. Officials were seen inside buildings along Main Street, inside of the Ford Center and on the roofs of a building as a protestor pointed out from the crowd.
"No justice, no peace" and other chants were performed as close to the civic center as the crowd could get. After hearing from the events organizers a moment of silence was held for George Floyd as well as a "hands up, don't shoot" and a kneeling demonstration.
The crowd was very courteous of one another making sure people were properly hydrated and had access to snacks. One protestor reportedly passed out, but declined medical assistance. Though in the middle of Indiana summer heat, it was clear that the peaceful protestors are just beginning to turn up the heat on trying to change police policy. Event organizers made sure to thank the crowd for their continued peaceful protests before marching back to the Four Freedoms monument.
It didn't end there because people continued protesting police brutality and justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor well into the night. Riverside drive was loud with cars honking in support of the protest. Protestors stationed themselves on the left and right sides of the street and at the median to prove a point that this serious and sometimes deadly issue of police brutality is now surrounded with eyes and at the forefront of American society. George Floyd's death is exactly what Black Americans have known could be their reality in what many are calling a modern day lynching. A large tree was the pillar of the protest symboling that slavery is the backbone of the United States, and that the justice system has been systemically built against Blacks meant to literally or figuratively lynch them.