PHOTOS: Cincinnati Enters Fourth Day Of Protests
Protesters took to the streets of Cincinnati for a fourth consecutive day Monday to protest the death of George Floyd, the African American man in Minneapolis who died last week while in police custody.
WVXU's Ronny Salerno was at the Hamilton County Courthouse where the protest began. As the crowd grew, he noticed SWAT vehicles and deputies in riot gear guarding the Justice Center.
The crowd and deputies were cordial to each other, Salerno reported. However, the mood shifted when some people tried to stage some sort of ceremony, which caused some infighting among the demonstrators. Riot police emerged.
Before the protest got started, an organizer advocated for a peaceful demonstration. Speakers said "more needs to be done" beyond social media.
"We need to vote for officials that believe black lives matter."
"Your silence will not protect us."
"Being woke isn't enough."
Organizers also led the crowd in singing "Lift Every Voice And Sing," referred to as the Black National Anthem.
Soon after, the crowd moved forward and so did the police line. Time passed and the crowd began chanting for deputies to take a knee.
Officers have been joining in protests around the country, whether by taking their helmet off and laying down a baton - as a county sheriff in Flint, Mich., did - or by taking a knee, as officers in Coral Gables, Florida, did on Saturday.
As the Cincinnati crowd continued chanting, more deputies emerged, one with an assault-style weapon. That agitated demonstrators, who continued to chant their request for officers to take a knee.
"It only takes one," the crowd said. Sheriff Jim Neil took a knee and the crowd "erupted," Salerno said.
More deputies soon followed, much to the delight of the people present.
Next, demonstrators kneeled to take part in nine minutes of silence, nearly the same amount of time of the video of Floyd's death, where he can be heard saying "Please," "Don't kill me," and "I can't breathe," while then-Officer Derrick Chauvin knelt on his neck. Chauvin has since been fired and is facing murder and manslaughter charges.
Protesters weaved through Downtown, ultimately stopping in front of District 1 headquarters near Central Parkway, where a few more officers took a knee.
As the crowd moved on, volunteers picked up trash. Meanwhile, protesters started suspecting one man of being an undercover cop. Some yelled, "Don't touch him," while others shouted, "They want to infiltrate us." He eventually walked off down Ezzard Charles.
With about an hour to go before the new 8 p.m. curfew Mayor John Cranley put in place earlier in the day, demonstrators landed at Fountain Square. Chants included "Black lives matter" and "No justice, no peace." Some held a banner baring the names of the men and women of color killed by police, as well as the names of the officers who killed them.
As curfew neared, one man advised protesters adhere to the curfew, saying they could organize again tomorrow.
"We gotta do that, y'all," he said. "We gotta be smart, y'all. If y'all go to jail tonight, shame on y'all."
Some demonstrators follow the advice; many did not and began marching again. As Salerno headed back to WVXU offices on Central Parkway, he reported seeing many still out in the streets on foot and in vehicles, as well as lots of police, including the Ohio Highway State Patrol.