Thousands of New Yorkers and people across the country have taken to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Minnesota police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a deli employee accused Floyd of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Less than 20 minutes later, Floyd was pinned to the ground by four police officers, all of which were white, with one kneeling on his neck. Floyd was killed by that officer, who was one of several who heard the man calling for help, saying he couldn’t breathe.
The day after Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Police Department fired all four of the officers involved, and, on Friday, May 29, Heppein County attorney Mike Freeman announced murder and manslaughter charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer seen most clearly in witness videos pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee pressing down on Floyds neck.
The other three officers involved — Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — all of whom can be seen participating in Floyd’s arrest, remain under FBI investigation.
Video of Floyd’s death from bystanders and security cameras surfaced shortly after the episode. The videos sent shock waves across the country and the world. Protests and riots have occurred in major cities across the globe, including two in Riverhead this past weekend, where those in attendance delivered a message that systemic racism and police brutality cannot be tolerated any longer.
Lisa Votino and Lisa Gagliardo, of Southampton, and Willie Jenkins, of Bridgehampton, are planning a protest June 2 at 5 PM. The “Justice for George Floyd” march will begin at the Bridgehampton Community House.
During the final part of the march, protestors will lay in the road on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs as they repeat, “I can’t breathe,” for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd had been left gasping for air before his death, similar to what was done in Riverhead May 31.
Those who would like to participate are encouraged to park on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton between the community house and the monument in either direction, and put a sign outside their car facing the road. People are, of course, required to wear masks and social distance as much as possible during the peaceful protest.
The organizers of the two protests in Riverhead on Sunday are also coming together to organize a march on Thursday in Southampton. More details will be released on the June 4 event once available.