TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Troy’s Monday protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd began with a simple Facebook post by Tre Hudson.
“Who wants to join me today in a peaceful protest for George Floyd and all the victims of police brutality?,” Hudson posted at 11 a.m. “I’ll be standing in front of the court house (Troy) for anyone who wants to join and be heard.”
By 6 p.m., Hudson was joined by hundreds of Troy residents – many he recognized as friends and family, others came who also wanted their voices heard.
“You see the turnout,” Hudson told WDTN.com. “It shows you the support you can have when people want to stand up for something they believe in. I want to cry right now.”
The protest started in front of the Miami County Courthouse. Protesters then moved east down Main St. toward the downtown square. Police were concerned with protesters causing property damage or blocking traffic. Troy Police Chief Charles Phelps said one person was arrested for blocking traffic, and another person was arrested for trying to prevent the arrest of the first person.
“We had good cooperation with protesters in the beginning, we had coversations with the protesters, we were here to allow them to protest,” Phelps said. “Unfortunately it got a little heated and we had to make a couple of arrests.”
The crowd worked its way to the square, eventually settling at Prouty Plaza, a grassy block within the downtown square. Bailey Williams, a friend of Hudson’s, spoke to crowds. Protesters also interacted with Phelps and Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. Phelps said despite the traffic concerns and some protesters being confrontational, most issues were avoided.
“We were here to allow them to protest and we were here to make sure the roadways were cleared and nothing was damaged,” Phelps said.
Protesters wore signs and shirts saying “I Can’t Breathe” and “No Justice, No Peace.” After Hamilton gave a rallying speech from a picnic table before the crowd, protesters marched around the square several times before moving back west to the courthouse. By 9 p.m., the crowd dispersed and the roads were cleared.
Protests erupted last week in Minneapolis last week following Floyds death on May 25. Floyd was arrested, and handcuffed with a Minneapolis officer kneeling on the back of his neck. Floyd repeatedly complained he couldn’t breathe. Floyd died on the scene. Four officers who were at the scene of the arrest were fired, including the arresting officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Hudson said racism is an issue he deals with on a regular basis.
“We are sick and tired of seeing innocent black women and men being killed for no reason,” Hudson said. “When you see someone detained and they say they can’t breathe … other officers should have been jumping in there.”
After protests in Dayton over the weekend, Troy was one of three in the Dayton area on Monday – the other two were in Centerville and Beavercreek. Hudson said what African-Americans want following Floyd’s death is simple – to matter.
“It seems like we don’t matter to (law enforcement),” Hudson said. “We want to be able to say we want to be able to walk out of our house and not feel fear.”
For WDTN’s contiuning coverage of local and national protests, click here.
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