PHOTOS: Weekend Protests Peaceful, With 'Massive' Attendance On Sunday
People continue to take to the streets of Cincinnati to protest the death of black Americans at the hands of police, most recently George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, who would have turned 27 this past Friday, June 5.
On Friday, we reported how crowds - and the number of deputies - had decreased from earlier in the week. "There used to be a whole line, multiple lines of police wearing riot shields and helmets and stuff like that," demonstrator Skylar Coleman told WVXU's Jay Hanselman. "Right now, there's no one out there."
Friday evening, demonstrators near District 1 wrote a birthday message in chalk to Taylor and laid out candles honoring the victims of police brutality.
Meanwhile, Tana Weingartner reported how many Downtown businesses began to join in the demonstrations by painting art and messages of support on the plywood installed over their windows and doors.
On Saturday, demonstrations took place through the city, including Fountain Square and Washington Park. At Washington Park, speakers included State Senator Cecil Thomas and Audrey DuBose, the mother of Sam DuBose, who was killed by former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing during a traffic stop in 2015.
“When I saw this come together like this, I said, 'My son didn’t die in vain. He did not die in vain,' " DuBose told the crowd. "The fight goes on."
Over at Fountain Square, the hundreds who had gathered were treated to free food from Latoya Evans, owner of JLT's Catering.
As the group marched toward the Hamilton County Courthouse, Chief of Police Eliot Isaac came out and shook hands and took photos with protestors for about 20 minutes.
Demonstrators also had the opportunity to register to vote.
The group observed a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of the video of George Floyd's death, which shows then-officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as Floyd repeatedly says "I can't breathe." Chauvin now faces charges of second-degree murder.
However, the event ended on a positive note, with some members of the group performing the "Electric Slide."
On Sunday, Whitman reported seeing the biggest crowd of the weekend yet. The Facebook event page for the "Cincinnati March for Racial Justice" at Fountain Square shows 10,000 people who said they were "going;" Whitman said he heard police estimates of between 5,000 to 7,000 people.
"The most I've seen is maybe 2,000 to 3,000 people at the beginning of the week, but this was just huge," Whitman said. "Everything downtown was packed with people."
While on Sunday "police presence was everywhere," Whitman said, "I didn't see any riot gear. I didn't see any of the armored personnel carriers."
In fact, police were handing out masks to any protester who wanted one, Whitman said. "There were a lot of selfies and photos (with police)."
The change in tenor could be credited to when Sheriff Jim Neil twice took a knee to show solidarity with demonstrators on Monday, June 1. "And right after that the assistant chief of police jumped a barricade to talk with protesters. I think people started to see that the dialogue was open."
More demonstrations are planned, including one every Monday at 1 p.m. at the courthouse and another every weekday at 6 p.m. at the police memorial near District 1.