Weekend Protests Mark 10 Days Of Black Lives Matter Protests In Kansas City
Protests were notably calmer than the previous weekend after the police began de-escalation efforts and the mayor announced reforms, but protestors still called for Chief Rick Smith to be fired.
Black Lives Matter protests took on new locations and strategies over the weekend, marking ten straight days of demonstrations.
On Sunday, around 1,000 people gathered downtown for a silent march. There was no chanting – only silence and signs.Protesters wore white T-shirts, many emblazoned with the names of George Floyd and other people who have been victims of police brutality across the country.
They formed a single-file line and walked more than a mile south along Main Street, then back north along grand avenue.
"It was beautiful to be able to do something while also reflect on what you’re doing," said organizer Sam Wells. "I know when I‘m chanting, I’m in it, I’m hype. But this whole march, that three miles, man, I was just thinking about what we’re doing. And how we’re doing it. And it’s beautiful and tragic and it’s awesome."
Other than frequent honking horns of support, the three-mile walk was tranquil.
"I am really surprised at how well behaved and quiet everybody was. I thought there would be some talking or something going on. But it really was a silent protest," said Chloe Bastien. It was her first protest.
15 minutes later and I still can’t see the end of the line. I just secured a means of mobile journalism conveyance (scooter) so I’ll try to get back to the head of the line, which is probably at least 10 or 15 blocks north by now. pic.twitter.com/wFK8CaQCCW
— Chris Haxel (@ChrisHaxel) June 8, 2020
A protest on Saturday at City Hall was also calm, after the Kansas City Police Department focused on de-escalation and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a series of reforms.
Protestors there said they were happy about the reforms, such as an independent review board for officer-involved shootings, but want deeper, systematic change and called for both the demilitarization and the defunding of the KCPD.
Aqui Greadington, who was spending his 37th birthday at the protest, said violence by police aimed at black lives is “just like the pandemic — there’s no where to be safe.”
And protestors were still calling for the firing of Police Chief Rick Smith, saying he had never accounted for many of the officer-involved deaths of black men in Kansas City.
Saturday evening at Mill Creek Park saw a much smaller crowd than the previous Saturday. Also, there were no police officers in riot gear and no sense of military control, just a few hundred people listening to speeches and remembering lives lost.
More protests are planned this week across the Kansas City metro.