GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People gathered outside the Kalamazoo courthouse at noon Saturday to protest police brutality against minorities following the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
In addition to #BlacklivesMatter signs, other protesters carried signs that read “Justice for Mr. Floyd,” “I can’t breathe,” “All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter,” and quoting the Bible passage that calls for an “eye for an eye.” They called for people of all races to stand together to fight systemic racism.
The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The Kalamazoo Courthouse protesters said that third-degree charge wasn’t good enough; they said the killing was premeditated.
While protesters were not practicing social distancing, many were wearing masks with coronavirus in mind.
Later Saturday, a silent march in Grand Rapids is scheduled for 6 p.m. and protesters are told to wear their face masks, according to the Facebook event. Another protest in Kalamazoo called Justice for George is set to start at 6 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Mall.
Floyd’s death has sparked protests all over the country and on the east side of the state Friday night in Detroit where WDIV-TV is reporting a 19-year-old man was killed and multiple people were arrested. In other areas, including in Minneapolis, protests have also been violent.
In Kalamazoo, protesters condemned the rhetoric by President Donald Trump about the rioting and looting in Minneapolis.
After several people spoke, the courthouse protesters began a march.
“Black Lives Matter!” they chanted, “I can’t breathe!” and George Floyd’s name.
While upset about Floyd’s death, the Kalamazoo courthouse protesters were peaceful. There did not appear to be any police on hand. The protests later in the day were also supposed to be peaceful.
News 8 will have a crews on scene at the protests in West Michigan and will continue to bring you the latest on air and online.