CEDAR RAPIDS — A peaceful protest turned out as planned, as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Cedar Rapids.
“Please march with us as we peacefully protest the heartbreaking and infuriating racism, inequality, and murder experienced by George Floyd and too many others,” organizers Nicole LeGrand, Tamara Marcus and Leslie Neely posted on Facebook.
Several thousand people heeded the call on Saturday, June 6, 2020, gathering in Greene Square in Cedar Rapids to listen to speakers address the death of George Floyd last month at the hands of Minneapolis police and other injustices for people of color. Many wore face masks to try to limit transmission of the coronavirus, which is still in substantial spread in Iowa.
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman, Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, and Mayor Brad Hart were among speakers at the event, with Jerman promising a new policy requiring officers to intervene when they witness a use of force that is unnecessary or unlawful.
Leslie Neely and Jorel Robinson called for a list of changes, including a citizens review board, a ban on the use of chokeholds and deescalation training for police.
“No justice, no peace,” demonstrators shouted during the march from Greene Square, across the Third Avenue Bridge to First Avenue, where they laid down on the street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, who died in police custody.
Protests in other cities across the country have been besieged by police, who have used tear gas and other means to control demonstrators, but the Cedar Rapids event remained peaceful.
See more photos from the demonstration, below. (photos © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan)