FLINT TWP., MI — Thousands of protesters close Miller Road Saturday in Flint Township, demanding justice for George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old man with African origins who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on Monday. He died after being handcuffed and the cop treaded his neck with his knee.
May 25. Video went viral on social media shows white Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for minutes. In the video, Floyd can be heard over and again saying he can’t breathe as regular people encourage Chauvin to get off him and check his heartbeat.
The death of Floyd set off protests in different cities around the country to ask for his justice.
The peaceful walk in Flint Township began at 6 p.m. with a little gathering of around eight people. However, it immediately developed into hundreds. The gathering blocked I-75 southbound on-and exit ramps along Miller Road.
Supporters in vehicles, in a line extending almost a quarter-mile since a long time ago, drove behind the protesters.
Signs reading “Black lives matter,” “White silence is violence” and “Racism is still the biggest pandemic we face” were seen in the crowd. Chants were heard, including “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”
“This is historic. The whole damn city is out here. Man, look at this. This is bigger than any one of us. This is for Ahmaud Arbery. This is for Breonna (Taylor). This is for George Floyd. This is for anyone who was ever silenced. This is for all of us,” said Johnie Franklin, a lifelong Flint resident, and organizer. “We just wanted to be heard. We wanted to have a conversation … and after today, I know we’ve been heard.”
After over two hours, the walk was directed to the Flint Township Police Department, where dissidents were met with a line of Flint Township officials and Genesee County Sheriff’s delegates wearing uproar apparatus and holding twirly doos.
Protesters at first plunked down to show their tranquility, and after discussions started among police and dissenters, shared opinion was found. High-fives embraces and clench hand knocks were exchanged.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson took his head protector off and put his stick on the ground as an indication of peace.
Swanson and other Flint-territory cops, at last, joined the walk, which proceeded back past the Genesee Valley Mall onto Miller Road to the Target parking garage.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be — the police working with the community,” Swanson said. “When we see injustice, we call it out on the police side and on the community side. All we had to do was talk to them, and now we’re walking with them. … The cops in this community, we condemn what happened. That guy (Chauvin) is not one of us.”