BRENTWOOD, Mo. – Protesters gathered at the Brentwood Promenade late Thursday afternoon for a rally in support against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed by police while being arrested.
Video of the arrest shows a white police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a black man, for several minutes. That officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and initially charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter for Floyd’s death. The latter charge has since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
Three other Minneapolis police officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired and have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death reignited protests nationwide in the struggle against police violence.
Several hundred people gathered outside the Target at Brentwood Promenade at 6 p.m. The protesters took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time former Officer Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Rams great Aeneas Williams was spotted in the crowd participating in the demonstration.
The group eventually marched onto Eager Road along Interstate 64. The group turned south onto Hanley Road and stopped near the Maplewood Walmart.
A short time later, the protesters walked back the way they came and congregated on Brentwood Boulevard, blocking the ramps to the interstate as well as north-south traffic at the intersection.
The group stayed at the intersection until 9 p.m. before walking back to the parking lot at Brentwood Promenade and leaving the area.
Many businesses in Brentwood boarded up their doors and windows as a precautionary measure.
Organizers and community members hope it will be a peaceful protest like two held Wednesday in St. Charles.
During the first protest in St. Charles, a crowd of demonstrators walked down Highway 94. As the protestors walked past the cars that were stopped for the event some drivers got out and started marching with them, and other drivers passed out water. We are told a group of college students worked with police to set up this march.
The second march was also peaceful. Hundreds of people started at the Schlafly Bankside Brewpub and proceeded down Main Street.
The same organizers previously held a protest in Ballwin. A crowd of people started walking from the Ballwin Government Center. Police made sure traffic would not be a problem for the group.