Two weeks since George Floyd died: How Springfield has reacted

Hundreds gathered to march in protest in downtown Springfield on Sunday, May 31, 2020. The crowd began at the Clark County Municipal Courthouse then traveled on nearby roads, blocking traffic in some places. BILL LACKEY / STAFF

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Hundreds gathered to march in protest in downtown Springfield on Sunday, May 31, 2020. The crowd began at the Clark County Municipal Courthouse then traveled on nearby roads, blocking traffic in some places. BILL LACKEY / STAFF

Springfield residents and community leaders have spoken out against racism and incidents of police brutality since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25. 
Floyd was an unarmed black man who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody. Officers were caught on video holding him down and one officer was shown kneeling on his neck for about eight minutes.

His death has caused national outrage and has been followed by a series of protests throughout the country.

Here are 5 ways Springfield has reacted to his death: 

1. On Friday, May 29 community leaders and government officials spoke out about the death of George Floyd. 

During a livestream to the public, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland, along with other city officials said that the city nor its police division condones what happened to Floyd.

“The chief has made clear that what happened in Minneapolis is contrary to the policy of the city of Springfield’s police department,” Copeland said.

He added, “We do not want our officers acting in that way and we will discipline them if they do. This is not what the City of Springfield should expect from their police and we do not expect it from public officials.”

2. On Sunday, May 31 protesters in Springfield marched throughout the downtown area chanting Floyd's name as well as "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot."

The demonstration was organized by several young individuals who grew up in Springfield.

“We wanted to show that we are just tired of repeatedly seeing the same images of black lives being taken on TV,” Dorian Hunter, one of the organizers who graduated from Springfield High School in 2014 said. “We are understanding that the statistical evidence behind that shows that African-Americans are more likely to have violent interactions with law enforcement.

Representatives of the Springfield Unit of the NAACP and State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, were in attendance

Hunter said, “We just want to do what we can to raise awareness. To show everybody that we are equal and in the same playing field as everyone else."

PHOTOS: Protesters march in Springfield

3. Later into the evening on Sunday, May 31, a small group of individuals damaged several buildings downtown. 

More than nine properties, including City Hall and Un Mundo Cafe, had windows broken or some other type of damage.

Clark State Community College also reported damage to its Brinkman Educational Center and several peace officer training vehicles sustained damage.

RELATED: Springfield leaders praise peaceful protests, condemn vandalism

4. Local clergy members in Clark County decided on Wednesday, June 3 to create an advisory committee that aims to address and combat systemic racism while working with local law enforcement agencies.

“The purpose of the group is to come up with measurable action steps that will contribute toward creating conditions were things like the murder of George Floyd can’t happen,” said Carl Ruby, the senior pastor at Central Christian Church in Springfield.

The Community Law Enforcement Advisory Team will involve a number of pastors and faith-based leaders from across various denominations of Christianity.

RELATED: Clark County advisory committee formed to combat and prevent racial injustices

5. On Saturday, June 6, a crowd of about 60 people gathered at the Southern Village Shopping Center to protest police brutality and register voters.

The demonstration featured several short speeches from local community leaders as well as volunteers who registered people to vote.

The event was not organized by a specific group but by a local resident Jaime Moore. However she wanted to give credit to several “young aspiring leaders” including Demoni’ Ramey and Richard Eichie.

“If we get rid of the underlying conditions and start educating people as a whole I truly do believe that change can happen,” Eichie said.

RELATED: Springfield residents gather on southside to protest police brutality, register voters

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death is scheduled to make his first court appearance today.

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