Craig holds emotional protest in response to death of George Floyd
“We’re people too,” said Jemima Gonzalez Aguirre, a hair stylist in Craig.
Aguirre, along with a handful of other women, organized Friday evening’s peaceful protest at Alice Pleasant Park in response to the death of George Floyd, who died at the knee of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, May 25.
“We just wanted to raise awareness locally in a community that doesn’t really have many people of color,” Aguirre said. “We want people to know what it’s like to be colored and discriminated against. It’s just about education.”
Aguirre posted to Facebook on Tuesday calling for a protest in Craig. Roughly 75 people turned out Friday evening in support of Floyd and the #BlackLivesMatter movement across the nation.
As some demonstrations have turned violent and destructive across the country in the last week, Craig’s was peaceful. People held signs, clenched fists in the air, chanted the names of several black individuals who had recently died unjustly including Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
“We’re trying to keep it peaceful, that’s why we brought snacks and drinks,” Aguirre added. “We don’t want to come out here and seem like the crazy people, but it seems like a lot of people have taken this the wrong way.”
The group of protesters also laid face down in the grass and on the sidewalk with their hands behind their backs in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, marking the amount of time Officer Chauvin kept his knee pressed on Floyd’s neck. The former officer has now been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
“I understand that all lives matter, but right now black lives need support,” said Jazzmine Piatt “I’m here to support the movement; they need us. Our community doesn’t really struggle with racism as other places might, but it needs brought to attention here, not just here but across the world.”
On the other hand, other passersby honked their horns in support of those who opposed the protest. A group of high school-aged boys showed up shortly after the start of the protest waving Trump 2020 flags, American flags, and state of Colorado flags while chanting “Trump 2020” and “I got your 6” in support of the police.
Prior to Friday night’s protest, Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume put out a message to the public and those planning to protest, telling the community that they’d be at the rally as a sign of support, not force.
“I don’t think the messaging was any different for today than what it would be at any other time of the year,” Sheriff Hume said. “We live in a free country; we should all be extremely supportive and proud of that. That was part of the message we shared [Thursday].”
While many are angry with police officers and the use of force, especially now during the protests which have turned violent and destructive, Craig and Moffat County as a whole really hasn’t had issue with police overstepping that line when it comes to police brutality.
To hear Sheriff Hume speak on that, it has to do with the leadership at the top and the culture in place locally.
“It’s part of the organizational culture and leadership,” Sheriff Hume said. “That has a significant impact on the tone and tenor of the law enforcement team here locally.”
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