Over the past few days protests have continued in multiple cities nationwide in reaction to the death of George Floyd, including Indianapolis.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday in police custody in Minneapolis. Four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving, the Associated Press reported.
Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, was arrested Friday and charged with murder, according to the AP.
However, protesters in Indianapolis were marching for more than George Floyd — some were also marching for Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, a 21-year-old black man, who the police have said died May 6 in a gunfire exchange with an Indianapolis police officer, according to an AP article.
The police officers involved in the incident did not have body camera or dash camera footage, it states. On May 12, city officials said Indianapolis police officers will be equipped with body cameras starting this summer.
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Saturday’s protest started at Monument Circle and marched through downtown Indianapolis until they met a larger crowd at the Indiana War Memorial.
Kyra Harvey, an organizer from Indy Ten Black Lives Matter, said she attended the protest to ensure everyone is heard and the city hears their demands in the Reed case.
"On a local level, we’ve asked for [the officers responsible] to be fired [and] a change in the use-of-force policy,” Harvey said.
Alongside those demands, she said her organization has also asked for the officer to be indicted and the mayor to meet with the family and release Reed’s autopsy report.
Harvey said the Reed case “sparked another type of anger in people.” She said her organization received donations from the supporters who provided cases of water, gallons of milk and medical supplies in to help those who may be injured in the protest.
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Matty Slaydon, a member of Queer in Indy, a radical queer organization supporting Black Lives Matter , said they rallied many in the community who were not people of color to the steps of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at Monument circle to say one thing — “listen to black people.”
“My priority is to keep people of color safe,” Slaydon said.
In all their years of organizing, Slaydon said the closest thing they have seen to the Saturday crowd in Indianapolis crowd were the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
“People are tired of black people dying,” they said.
A Second Amendment rights group, Indiana 2A United, was also present in support of George Floyd and First and Second Amendment rights on Saturday.
“This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue, this is an American issue,” said Ryan Secord, a member of the group. “We all have the right to live freely without being killed by our government.”
Families were also in attendance at the protests like that of Diamond Asabi, who came along with her husband and two children.
“We want to see a difference so that our children can walk the streets, ride in their cars and jog down the road freely,” Asabi said. “We want to see a real change systematically.”
Police presence picked up more than usual after 7 p.m. as sirens were sounded throughout the city. Tear gas was thrown into the crowd forcing people to run toward safety as they poured milk on their eyes to help with the burning sensation.
After Friday evenings protests when some protestors were arrested, Harvey said The Bail Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to combat mass incarceration through disrupting bail money, has offered to pay the bail of any protesters arrested Saturday.
Later that night, the Associated Press reports three people in Indianapolis were shot Saturday night, including one fatally, during what they described as peaceful daytime protests giving way to unrest and destruction later.
No details about the shootings were immediately released, but the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said no officers were involved, the AP article states.
Police Chief Randal Taylor said on Friday, at least 30 businesses were damaged and 27 people were arrested during demonstrations that continued through at least 4 a.m., the article states.
Saturday night marked the second straight night when protests became dangerous in Indianapolis, it states, as buildings were damaged, officers deployed tear gas and at least one business was briefly on fire.
Contact Gabbi Mitchell with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Gabbi_Mitchell.