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Rally In Response To George Floyd Death Held In Jamestown

P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

Area residents have gathered at Dow Park in Jamestown to hold a rally in response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd on Memorial Day.

The local rally began at noon.

Derek Chauvin, fired Minneapolis police officer, was charged with murder and manslaughter in a complaint filed on Friday. Chauvin was captured on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, who after several minutes went unresponsive.

Floyd was pronounced dead later that day.

Protests have erupted across the country over the Minnesota’s man death.

Sunday’s peaceful rally was organized by local Pastor Chloe Smith.

“This to me demonstrates that we are the United States of America,” Smith told the crowd. “Each and every one of you, I see the young people out, I see older people, I see the middle-aged. I see the old guard. I see the new guard. You have all made the decision and the choice to come out today and be a part of the change in our community.”

“How many of you know it starts with us?” she continued. “It starts with us, and I know you know because you’re here and you’re willing to put yourself on the line. You’re willing to put your reputation on the line and say ‘I stand with people, the African American people of this nation.”

“We all watched what happened as the officer had his knee on the neck of George Floyd.”

The crowd then began to chant “George Floyd, George Floyd, George Floyd.”

Organizers spoke with Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings and Mayor Eddie Sundquist.

Smith asked the police chief if upcoming openings within the police department will be filled by African Americans. Snellings said he is bound by Civil Service requirements. “Once we get the list, and whoever is available, that’s who we have to chose from,” he said. “I think one of the challenges we have is to get members of our community of color to actually get involved in the criminal justice program and pursue a career in law enforcement.”

Asked what could be done to reach out and get some members of the community involved, Snellings responded that he is engaged in the criminal just program at BOCES through the high school.

“It’s a struggle,” he said. “We try that outreach, but the other side of that, we need people to also do that work. We can help guide them to get to that position.”

Sundquist said the city is working “hand-in-hand with the schools to make sure programs are available.”

“We will do whatever we can to continue supporting our community.”

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