The graphic video of George Floyd was shared all over the news and media, protests against police brutality were organized in Minneapolis and across the country beginning May 28. At what started out as a peaceful protest turned into a violent chaos. The protesters are angry and want the other three officers who were involvemed with the arrest to be charged with murder. The protest started on Chicago and East 38 Street, where George Floyd’s arrest took place. Protests and looting have continued for a week.
In Seattle on Saturday May 30, there was protest organized by ‘Justice for George Floyd.’ It started out as a peaceful protest, and increasingly got violent as the protesters and the Seattle Police were getting more and more involved with each other. The mayor of Seattle, as of 5:00 PM declared a curfew, so that no one can be on the streets of Seattle after 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM. A number of people have defied that order and are being arrested if not listening to the police. “They didn’t even know what they were protesting about. They just wanted a reason to break windows.” One of the organizers of the protest said when being interviewed. She was furious that the anarchists have taken over the protest. She and the organization wanted to peacefully protest against police brutality. They were giving an opportunity for people’s voices to be heard.
Students and young members around the Snohomish community are sharing their thoughts and opinions about the protest on social media and in person at Snohomish, Bellevue and Seattle protests. “The way that I think it could have been handled differently is the fact that he (Officer Chauvin) could have stood up from the poor man’s neck at any second. Yet he choose to keep his knee there. As for the protest turning violent, I feel that that’s what truly needed to happen. In order to show America that this is not okay and that we have had enough of what’s going on and we truly deserve better and until we are heard, we must fight.” Cascade student Mariam Sylla said.
Another young community member who works around the Snohomish area Ben, (last name was asked not to be used) shared his thoughts.”It’s hard for me to say, from what I’ve seen on social media coming from individuals who were at the protest. It started out peacefully and the police turned it violent. I believe he was murdered and not given the respect nor the decency, as if he was a white male in today’s society. I think all four policemen that played a part of George Floyd’s murder should be put behind bars for the rest of their lives. Now about the protest, it was said that there were two groups in Seattle that day. One that wanted peace and one that wanted riot. I don’t enjoy seeing Seattle being looted and the violence towards the bigger corporations and businesses. Although I do think they are trying to spread a message. It’s gone on for far too long and it won’t be accepted and taken lightly. I think time to show people, they need to take this movement seriously and it’s not over, until racism is abolished… I’m still trying to educate myself on current issues and past history. I’d like to hope others are taking this time to do the same.”
Glacier Peak senior Isaiah Ellison wants his thoughts shared to as many people as possible. “Things could’ve been handled differently for decades now. There are innocent black men seen as threats just because of their skin. We live in a ‘white community.’ George Floyd was brutally murdered when he was strangled by a cop. He lost his life over a $20 dollar bill. This man died over a $20 dollar bill and racist police officers. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds. Derek Chauvin deserves first degree-murder charge or at least a full life sentence.”
There is a difference between first degree murder and third degree murder. “What he did wasn’t third-degree murder because it wasn’t accidental. He was told multiple times he (Floyd) couldn’t breathe and he was killing him. The protests are great. Our voices must be heard. The media is only showing the ugly side of them though, people don’t know that the police are often responsible for being the first to show violence. And there are groups of opportunistic rioters who aren’t apart of the protest. They used this as a chance to steal, not even the protesters support this. Being peaceful in the past hasn’t worked which is why everyone is so emotional and angry at the system, Ellison said.
In our own community of Snohomish, there have been peaceful protests along Second Street and Avenue D the past several days and evenings. “How is it that cops can kill and assault innocent men, women, and children of any race and just get away with it every time. People of color are seen as threats and more dangerous for the color of their skin. Although I know looting and the violence is wrong, so is lining the streets of Snohomish with assault riffles and guns. These people want to flash around their fancy toys. They aren’t protecting anyone, they are making everyone in town terrified, especially people of color. Don’t try to take matters into your own hands. The police are very aware of what’s going on and have trained and briefed on any situation that may occur. If I can’t enter my own town without being threatened and scared for my life, they are the issue. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way,” Ellison said.