In Rapid City, people gathered at Memorial Park Saturday to show their support for George Floyd.
Among the protesters was George Floyd’s uncle from Gettysburg, SD, Selwyn Jones.
It began with prayers and songs dedicated to the life of Floyd. Demonstrators joined the voices from across the nation to protest police brutality and the use of excessive force.
For some in Rapid City, taking part in this prayer walk was a must.
“Honestly anything we can do to show support that killing black people just because of our color is not ok,” said Kenya Merrival, a protester. “I’m going to be there for it, ’cause it’s not ok. We’re tired of it.”
“Usually South Dakota is really quiet on race stuff, so of course if they are offering for us to come out here and support each other, I’m gonna be one of the supporters and be part of the solution,” said Chyna Sanders, a protester.
Preliminary findings from an autopsy state that Floyd had preexisting conditions which contributed to his death. His uncle, says that’s not so.
“He had no health issues,” Selwyn Jones said. “The only health issue he had was somebody had his hands cuffed behind his back and two officers were restraining him with another officer putting his feet on his neck”.
Jones says he believes the death of his nephew will spark many inaccuracies about his past.
“You’re going to hear a lot of innuendos about things he used to do, you know,” Jones said. “Everybody has challenges and everybody’s got a story, but most people’s story don’t end like his ended.”
“The former Minneapolis officer has been charged with third degree murder as well as manslaughter,” said Daphnee Vieux. “Protesters at Memorial Park are asking for swift justice for all involved.”
“I think it needs to be first degree murder because this is wrong,” said Shaylebe Corodo, the organizer of the movement.
“I do not think that’s enough,” said Bre Mcmahon, a protester. “My mother actually works for the court system and so I am familiar with that and I know that people hear a murder charge third degree, they don’t know that that’s basically calling it an accident. I do not think this was an accident. I do not think he should be treated lightly or differently because he is an officer. Maybe he should be held to a higher standard because he was wearing a badge.”
“In any other situation, you would be an accessory to a crime so absolutely I feel like he’s an accessory to it,” said Sean York, a protester. “They all should be charged as accessories to murder.”
Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris released a statement saying, “Though I am unable to be at today’s memorial walk, know that I stand with you in spirit during this peaceful gathering to remember the life of George Floyd.”
He goes on to say “I want everyone to know that the RCPD remains committed to employing effective and proactive approaches to community policing in our city.”