ST. LOUIS – A diverse group gathered at the police headquarters with signs of solidarity and chants demanding change.
“For me, it’s support and also to make a bigger statement nationally that this is not okay,” said Sydney Alexander, a protester.
Protests around the country are now spilling into our own area. Emotion and rage are rising after George Floyd died. Images of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck circulated.
“Black bodies are not disposable,” Alexander said.
The third-degree murder charge came down days after the incident. Some in the crowd of protestors disagree.
“It’s despicable and it’s disgusting, and I’m not happy with his third-degree charge,” Alexander said.
“I don’t think it’s enough. I don’t think it’s enough. that’s just what it is,” said a protestor who did not want to be identified. “I don’t have to say no more than that…it’s obvious.”
The protest went on for hours, blocking off intersections and stopping traffic. Police officers stopped the protest at Jefferson and Interstate 64. Protestors who are miles away from Minneapolis identify with what some say is a part of their reality.
“I’m a black man. I’m tired of seeing us getting killed. I’m tired of getting choked out. I’m tired of getting shot. Tired of getting a gun pointed at me when it’s time for traffic stops just because I’m black.
“It’s something that we as a community have to come together and deal with, but I think this is the only way we can get our message across,” said Alexander.
FOX 2 also heard a response from Lisa Boeving-Learned, a member of the Ethical Society of Police. She is a retired police sergeant.
Boeving-Learned said sometimes prosecutors go with charges they feel they will have a better chance with getting a conviction rather than the possibility of suspects being acquitted. FOX 2 asked her response to the charge after viewing the video.
“You can feel someone beneath you. You can feel the moment when they stop breathing and still they remained on his neck for another couple minutes. The moment he realized, to me, that begins a deliberate taking of a life,” said Boeving-Learned.
We also received a statement from St. Louis area’s African People’s Socialist Party.
They said, in part, “The choice of third-degree murder is more evidence that the entire U.S. has its foot on the neck of colonized people. This social system is designed to benefit from our oppression and the police exist to protect this relationship.”
The third-degree murder charge in the state of Minnesota carries a maximum charge of 25 years.