Protesters Call for Justice Following George Floyd’s Death
DULUTH, Minn.– What started as a small group of people quickly grew into a protest of up to nearly 100 people in Duluth this afternoon as dozens of people took over one of the busiest intersection on London Road off I-35 in Duluth.
Demonstrators were expressing their frustrations over the death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. They called for better policies among law enforcement in handling these situations.
“You’re supposed to be a police officer, you’re supposed to be safe for people,” said protester Jaylah Willis. “You’re not supposed to be doing any of those things. Putting your knees on people’s necks, it should never get to that point.”
Kathryne Ford was one of the organizers of the protest. She was out protesting yesterday and was motivated to come back today after an overflow of community support.
“The fact that every second that police officer knelt on that man’s neck he was making a decision,” said Ford. “And the fact that those other officers stood by and watched as that man’s life was stolen. It’s unacceptable.”
The protest quickly grew as nearly a hundred people gathered at the intersection of 21st Avenue East and London Road causing some confrontations with drivers, including a semi-truck.
Around 5 p.m., the Duluth Police Department arrived on the scene. They blocked off the intersection from a distance. Which gave space for those at the protest to demonstrate peacefully, even escorting the protesters at one point. As they marched their way down London Road to the Duluth Armory before making their way back to the intersection.
“Everybody needs to speak up. I don’t care what skin color you are,” protester Veronica Davis said. “Speak up for your brothers and your sisters because all together we are one. We bleed the same color blood. So everybody needs to speak up.”
The big crowds eventually dwindled to a handful of people late this evening protesting from the sidewalk on London Road.
The Duluth Police Department is confirming there were no injuries or damage to property other than a report of a broken window of a vehicle that pushed through the crowd rolling a woman onto the vehicle. The woman was not injured.
The Duluth Police Department says they are pleased with the outcome of today’s protest. They said the goal for officers was to allow demonstrators to safely express their right to free speech.
“The Duluth community has a voice and we want everyone to be able to feel like they can express their opinion. Peacefully and safely,” said Ingrid Hornibrook, Public Information Officer for the Duluth Police Department.
While blocking off an intersection is illegal, the DPD will assess each situation on a case by case basis to allow for the safest outcome possible for all involved.