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Indianapolis protests over George Floyd death begin peaceful, turn tense

The outrage expressed all across the country this week over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer arrived at Monument Circle Friday night.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - People of all different backgrounds came to the circle Friday. Many said what happened in Minneapolis this week wasn't a black issue and wasn't a white issue. It was an American issue.

The outrage expressed all across the country this week over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer arrived at Monument Circle Friday night.

Credit: WTHR
IMPD officers blocking the street near the Statehouse on May 29, 2020.

That tension spilled over in a brief exchange between close to 100 protestors and IMPD.

Late Friday and early Saturday morning, police used tear gas to manage the crowd. Protesters moved toward the Statehouse, where nearby restaurant and business storefront windows were broken.

Saturday morning, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said three officers and a protester were injured during the violence.

“Like so many in Indianapolis, I was horrified by the needless killing of George Floyd. I also recognize that the frustration and anger on display over the last few days isn’t new – it has been felt by communities of color for hundreds of years in a country that has far too often fallen short of providing liberty and justice for all.

The systemic racism of our past and present must be acknowledged and addressed. At a successful protest that occurred last night, hundreds of residents did just that, peacefully exercising their right to free speech.

Unfortunately, after the organizers of that event ended the protest, a smaller group of individuals abandoned this message of positive change. I am saddened that so many people and businesses were injured in the violence that ensued. While the emotions that fueled this vandalism may be justified, the actions that were taken and the harm that it has caused are simply unacceptable and did nothing to further the cause of progress.

Last night’s injuries included three law enforcement officers, as well as an individual who received serious injuries while kicking in glass and was saved when an IMPD officer applied a tourniquet and delivered life-saving care. I also want to recognize the actions of the Indianapolis Fire Department to contain multiple fires that were set, as well as our local media that provided necessary journalism under incredibly difficult circumstances.

Our office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department remain committed to ensuring the safety of peaceful protesters, and I would ask all who speak out in the days that follow to reject the tactics of those who would diminish a movement toward national action into unproductive destruction." -Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

"That's me. That's my brother. That's my uncle. Those are my friends," said Isaac Paintsio, Indianapolis.

That's who Paintsio saw when he watched video of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck as Floyd cried for help. Floyd later died.

"To see that video, it was so graphic after the first five minutes, I almost broke down and cried," Paintsio said.

Paintsio and the other people gathered, bringing anger and grief to Friday's protest and speaking out against the charges of 3rd degree murder and manslaughter Chauvin now faces.

"What do you mean manslaughter? You was on the man's neck until he died. He saying he couldn't breathe, over and over," said Erykah Walker of Black Lives Matter.

Protestors also called out what they say is a long history of police brutality against black people in this country.

"For the cops that are on the force, stand up and speak, you and have a voice because right now, the entire institution is tainted and we're at a point where the outrage, the frustration, I don't know how much more we can take," Paintsio said.

"We shouldn't have to go through this. When is enough, enough? When is enough, enough?" Walker added.

It's a question these people say they're sick and tired of asking.

"We gotta do better," Walker said. "All of us."