Blagrove said several coalition demands during the protests included imposing a policy requiring officers in Raleigh and across the state to intervene when they witnessed other officers being very cruel or unprofessional, and ensuring that the officer personnel and disciplinary records were published.
“The officers did not wake the killers,” Blagrove said. “We must change the culture in law enforcement that encourages and protects bad police.”
Greear Webb is a sophomore at UNC and co-founder of Young American Protest and N.C. Town Hall. Webb said that he was encouraged by the number of voters attending the event and he hoped that young people in particular would remain involved in conversations about police brutality.
“Does it protest peacefully, does it demand a response from your local officials, does it write letters to your University leaders and ensure that they make statements about racism and provide a plan for how to move forward with an anti-racist agenda – it’s strong when you combining the two, “Webb said.
Participants, who were encouraged to wear masks and facemasks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, marched from Wake County Courthouse to the Capitol building and other areas in the city center.
Community members also took turns talking to the crowd who had gathered by the courthouse to highlight the recent deaths involving the Raleigh police.
Gloria Mayo and Rolanda Byrd were both mothers of black men who were shot by the Raleigh police and died of their injuries. Mayo’s son, Keith Collins, was fired 11 times by police before being killed in January.
Byrd is the executive director of Raleigh PACT. His son, Akiel Denkins, was shot four times by police in February 2016. The Wake District Prosecutors’ Office concluded that officers involved in the incident acted in self-defense during a dispute between the two men.
Byrd said he believed the Raleigh Police Department needed further training on de-escalation methods, and he encouraged community members to identify steps that could be taken to address the issue of police accountability.
“That’s what is written on the death certificate, when the mothers accept it, it says murder,” Byrd said. “That means they killed my child.”
Wake County Sheriff, Gerald Baker, who spoke to the crowd around 5 pm, said the top officers were there to keep people safe, and to protect the right of participants to peacefully protest.
“I’m glad to see it here. You know, this is a way to deal with pain and concern, to make those who can make a difference listen,” Baker said. “That is what today means to us, serving and protecting, as we always do. . “
Only a few hours later, the steps of the courthouse were covered with graffiti and broken glass.
Some in attendance said the demonstration lasted peacefully for hours before police deployed tear gas and pepper spray in parts of the crowd.
N.C. A&T University senior Isaiah Barco said he marched with other protesters around 7:00 pm when he realized officers had been deploying tear gas in the area. The officers fired “something” at the ground, he said, at that time people began throwing water bottles back.
Barco said officers then fired tear gas into the crowd and when he tried to warn the people around him, he was caught in the crossfire. He said he felt a burning sensation in his eyes and nose.
“I will go to protest and do what I do, making sure that those who come after me don’t have to worry about living their lives as black men or black women,” Barco said. “Nobody is afraid of going to the store, walking around, just because of the color of their skin. And if that means I have to tear off the tear gas to get to that point, then be it – that means I’m doing my job. “
At around 7 pm, police formed a box around the intersection of McDowell Street and Cabarrus Street. Protesters stepped forward, throwing bricks and water bottles, which the police responded to with gas.
When the gas fades, the protesters pour milk into each other’s eyes to relieve the burning sensation.
In a tweet, Raleigh police asked protesters to stop throwing water bottles and bricks at officers.
Webb said while he was disappointed with the approach of the Raleigh Police Department towards the end of the march, he felt Baker and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office assisted in providing assistance during the rally and stressed organizers who wanted to protect their peaceful intentions.
Webb said he was not sure who was involved in the protests in the evening.
He said that although he did not condone certain actions that occurred when protests escalated, he understood the anger and frustration that people had about the George Floyd case and other police brutality incidents.
Blagrove repeated this.
“As you continue to take power from people, you continually ignore their pain and you alienate them from traditional processes to solve their problems: this is what happened,” Blagrove said. “This is a natural consequence of the bodies of leaders who fail to acknowledge the pain of the people they represent.”
At sunset, several protesters left. Talia, a college-age protester who arrived at Fayetteville Street around 10 pm, said the chaos at the place was immediately evident.
“Everyone’s kind of just doing their thing, you know, ‘There’s no justice, no peace,’ and ‘F — 12,’ all of that, and there are rows of policemen standing at the door of the Capitol building,” he said. “Right when we got there, people started crowding around them. That’s when it went crazy. “
He said as he began walking up the Capitol stairs, the building was covered with spray paint, and others threw items such as water bottles and bricks at police when the first round of gas was thrown.
“They just started rolling gas, like rolling gas and rolling gas, over and over again, and that was clearly seen because when the gas starts to go out and people start running.” she says. “I’ve run but I feel the effects of tear gas.”
During the night, 12 arrests were made. Five officers were sent to the hospital because of injuries sustained during the demonstration.
On Sunday mornings in downtown Raleigh, business blocks and government buildings stood with looted storefronts and carved walls. Only a few are unharmed.
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted that although damage continued in North Carolina last night, people were more important than property.
That morning, Raleigh residents appeared in the center of town with bottled water, granola bars and garbage bags. Some carry brooms that still have labels.
Darren Bridger, co-owner of The London Bridge Pub on Hargett Street, said when he arrived at the pub, which had been broken into overnight, regular visitors and friends were already there to clean up the damage.
Bridger said the loss came at a difficult time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had destroyed sales. Despite the struggle needed to rebuild, Bridger said he stood behind values protested by protesters, the majority of which were nonviolent, gathering to uphold.
“We have video footage of 20 people running rampant through our bars, stealing things and breaking things, but there are thousands of people in the parade,” Bridger said. “That in itself gives you a slight impression of the difference between small edges, you know?”
Trina Blalock, owner of Blalock’s Barber & Beauty Salon, says everything is safe when the barber stands outside the salon door until dawn. Fifteen minutes after they left, the shop window was destroyed.
Blalock said the damage caused by the protest would be easily repaired with insurance, but that it would only be beneficial if it was on the road to change.
“I understand anger, if you are angry. If they are hurt, and someone will listen and that will change a lot of things, and something changes, OK,” Blalock said. “If nothing has changed, then what is all this for?”
The Raleigh Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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