NORFOLK, Va. - Demonstrators took to the streets again Saturday following the recent killing of another African American man by a police officer. A couple hundred people gathered outside the Norfolk Police Station demanding action.
“People shouldn’t be dying just because of the color of their skin,” said Monica Simon of Norfolk.
The scene is one of dozens that played out in multiple cities across the nation following the death of George Floyd. On Friday, a white Minneapolis police office was charged in his murder after he was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes during his arrest.
“I want the police to hold each other accountable,” said Jackie Horton of Norfolk. “I want them to follow the policies and procedures that they have in place, because if they follow that proper policy then George Floyd would still be alive; Trayvon Martin would still be alive; Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, so many people would still be alive.”
Throughout the day, the group marched several times up and down Virginia Beach Boulevard. At times, protesters spilled into the streets stropping traffic. Police were redirecting the cars.
“Everything’s been very peaceful,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. “A large majority have this concept that all policemen are racist and that’s just not true, and the minute you make an absolute, you’re wrong.”
Protester Ayodeji Kuti of Norfolk said there needs to be a better community-police relationship.
“What the problem is, a lot of these officers come into these communities and they don’t grow to understand these communities,” he said. “They don’t grow to want to build and learn with these communities.”
Chief Boone met with protesters outside the station. He spoke with them and marched with them. He wanted people to know he’s listening to their concerns, and is willing to sit down and meet with them.
“My response to them was let me help you; here’s my number; let’s meet; let’s come up with some game plans; let’s do this together,” said Boone. “We got programs after programs after programs, and it breaks my heart to see an incident in Minneapolis destroy all that.”
Police did not arrest anybody at the protest.
Another protest unfolded late Saturday night in Portsmouth.
A smaller group of demonstrators gathered at I.C. Norcom High School and made their way down High Street to the downtown tunnel in Norfollk. Protesters proceeded to block traffic in both directions.
The demonstration in Hampton last night intensified after the crowd left Fort Monroe and made their way to Peninsula Town Center.
Some protesters then gathered on W. Mercury Boulevard where police said they threw items at officers on scene. The situation ended with four people under arrest.
Sunday night, hundreds of protesters gathered near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. While it started off peaceful, later in the evening, a stronger police presence grew with officers in riot and tactical gear in the area of Atlantic Avenue and 15th Street. Once they formed a line, protesters starting throwing rocks at police and the first tear gas/pepper ball was thrown. Police then moved in with heavy duty vehicles and moved protesters back.
Protesters were seen throwing trash cans in the street, tipping dumpsters and flipping tables in order to slow down police. A fire was also set in the middle of Atlantic Avenue. The storefront windows and doors of some local businesses on Atlantic Avenue were also broken, and people started looting Custom City.
— Antoinette DelBel (@AnnieDelBel) June 1, 2020