A group of protesters held signs and chanted “no justice, no peace” and “I can’t breathe” Saturday night in Uptown Greenwood.
Passersby on Main Street honked their horns in acknowledgment of the group’s efforts.
People in the group said they were protesting the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who died this past week while a law enforcement officer held his knee on the man’s neck while trying to detain him. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Protester Dee Harrison said he is tired of “the injustice we’ve been seeing in the media.”
“We also have family and friends who have been wrongly incarcerated,” Harrison said. “Now is our time to stand up and make a stand for it. No justice, no peace.”
Stephanie Livar said slavery ended a long time ago, and we are supposed to be living in a post-racial society; however, “obviously in 2020, it’s still going on. It feels like they are being intimidated by these beautiful black people.”
“Being the mother of a mixed child, it makes me scared,” Livar said. “I believe we all have a right because we all bleed red and we all breathe.”
Floyd was videotaped screaming “I can’t breathe” while the officer, Derek Chauvin, had his knee on Floyd’s neck. Floyd went limp at one point, and EMS was unable to revive him. Riots, looting and violent protests have taken place in larger cities across the country.
“We are going to be heard. Period,” Livar said.
Dequiashia Cowan had a personal reason for being at the protest. Her father, Demetric Cowan, was arrested by Greenwood police in March of 2016.
“He never made it home,” she said. “He died. We don’t have any answers. Two months after the autopsy, we got a death certificate. They said cocaine toxicity, but they wrote it as accidental. He died in a holding cell. They had no answers for us that night.
“They woke us up at 6 o’clock in the morning and said my father was pronounced dead at 4:17. Why did it take you two hours to come tell his family? What are y’all covering up? They didn’t treat him as a human. My father crawled from one cell to another. They didn’t give him anything but water. He told them plenty of times he couldn’t feel his heart.”
She said if he swallowed something, or they thought he swallowed something, they should have alerted emergency medical services.
“He had 10 seizures in 15 minutes, and y’all watched him,” she said. “There is something here we need to fix.”
Marcial Renea Little might have been the oldest protester there. She wore a face mask and carried a pink sign that said “We see you.”
“I’m for justice,” Little said. “I want justice for the Floyd man and the other ones who’ve died. Me, myself, I’ve been abused by the sheriff’s department. They body-slammed me. I’m a lady, and I had to go get stitches put in my mouth. They put charges on me. They said they would block out the charges if I signed a paper — I guess releasing them from what they did.
“I was scared and didn’t want to go to jail. I was young then and didn’t know as much as I know now, and they got away with it. That’s all right because God sees everything.”