George Floyd: Peaceful protest in Centerville

CENTERVILLE — Amid violent and angry protests, a demonstration in Centerville Monday was peaceful.

Organizers estimate about 500 people gathered at Stubbs Park.

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They began by taking a knee for nine minutes in silence. This was to represent the 8 minutes 46 seconds a preliminary report shows a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

Then, the protesters marched through the city.

“The message is to stop racism and stop hate. 2020 is the year that we stand together,” said Alex Stinnett.

Stinnett worked with The Solution Movement to arrange the event. The Solution Movement is a new group that started after the protests in Dayton on Saturday.

“This is not a city problem. This is not a local problem or a regional problem. This is a national state of crisis,” said Asia Gibbs with The Solution Movement. “It’s important for us to start the dialogue everywhere.”

The protest stayed peaceful, though Gibbs said she understands the pain that drives protesters from other demonstrations to act differently.

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“They’re outraged and they’re hurt, and they’re ready for a difference,” Gibbs said. “Although ours are different, we don’t discount their pain. There’s not a safe place for black men and women to be upset and hurt and mourn this.”

Centerville Police said 70 officers, some from other departments, were on hand to make sure the event went smoothly.

“This protest is to show that we as a community are coming together and want to stand with the law enforcement, because they are our hero. We trust them. We believe in them, and we ask them to protect us,” said Rhema Nwaneri with The Solution Movement.

Centerville Police said the event was peaceful as planned.