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Louisburg protests: No damage and no arrests

LOUISBURG -- Discord prompted by the most recent incident of police brutality in Minneapolis has flamed protests around the world -- prompting two protests in Louisburg streets early this week.

No damage or arrests were reported, but passions were high.

Minneapolis police officers arrested 46-year-old George Floyd on May 25 after responding to a call that a man used a counterfeit $20 at a deli.

Floyd, a black man, was taken into custody where he was subdued by white officers who took him to the ground and one officer knelt on his neck with his knee.

Floyd died while in custody. The officer has been charged with murder. All of the officers were fired and remain under investigation.

News of the event spread fast and protests in cities across the country spread just as fast -- the latest of which took place in downtown Louisburg on Monday and Tuesday.

"George Floyd is enough," said Jazzmine Harris, who was part of one of the protest groups that started at the courthouse on Monday afternoon and proceeded down to Bickett Boulevard before going to the Louisburg Police Department and back downtown.

"He is the straw that broke the camel's back.

"... This is not just about [George Floyd]," said Ruby Price.

"We are tired of this happening with a different person with the same skin-tone, just a different day," Price said. "It's the same thing, over and over again.

"When does it end?"

"This has been going on for so long and there's been no change," said Olivia Kern.

Change, protesters said, has to come by taking their message to the streets.

"The police ... they have never been for us," Price said. "They are working with a system that was never built for the black people.

"And, they don't expect for us to come together, but that's what we're doing."

On Monday, there were two different protest groups, one that started out at the courthouse and one that started on S. Main Street.

They both met in front of the courthouse to spread their message to end police brutality amid chants of "Black Lives Matter."

Until those in power understand the meaning behind the chant, Price said, change will never really come.

"... What if it was you, what if it was your son down on the ground screaming that he couldn't breathe or crying out for you?" Price said.

"How would you feel? What if you were in our shoes?" Price said. "And, that's not happening with the people in office.

"They don't care about us ..."

Louisburg police and Franklin County sheriff's deputies blocked traffic as protesters moved from location to location on Monday.

Authorities said there were no incidents of damage to any property and no issues were reported.

Tuesday's protests provided an opportunity for police to engage with the community.

Both Louisburg Police Chief Jason Abbott and Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead spoke with protesters, knelt with them in solidarity and took part in a group prayer.

Winstead said the opportunity to engage with the community is what law enforcement is all about.

"Part of our job is working with the community," Winstead said, noting that it gave him a chance to talk with residents about the diversity training and sensitivity training that officers go through.

He also urged residents, if they have issues with the behavior of a deputy, they need to alert his office of the issue so it can be addressed.

"They need to call us, we can sit down and look at it and handle it," Winstead said, noting officers wear body cameras and issues can be quickly diagnosed.

"I told them to not let things build up," Winstead said of his message to protesters. "Let us know so we can take care of it.

"... They don't have to worry about retaliation," Winstead said of residents who file a complaint against an officer. "[I'm an elected official]. I have to pay close attention to what my officers are doing."

Abbott said it was important to share with residents that they were just as disgusted by what took place in Minneapolis as everyone else.

"The Sheriff and I made an intentional effort to interact with people there," he said. "We wanted to express our own disgust with the death of George Floyd in solidarity with them and reassure them that Louisburg and Franklin County law enforcement are their partners and not their enemy.

"Their voices and frustrations were heard and we were able to engage in productive, peaceful dialogue," he said. "What happened in Minneapolis was the most sickening act I have ever witnessed from someone in my profession.

"The video is hard to watch," he said. "Those images are burned in my mind."

Pictured (Above): SAGE ADVICE. Louisburg Town Council member Christopher Neal, left, along with long-time local civil rights activist Armenta Eaton, met with protesters in downtown Louisburg Monday evening, urging them to keep their protests peaceful. Their message was that protesters should work to build on the work of others who came before them and to make their points forcibly but peacefully, which is exactly what happened.

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Members Opinions:
June 04, 2020 at 8:20am
Be safe in all you do. The virus is still out there.
June 05, 2020 at 7:46am
These protest show one of two things. (1) Caesar Cooper’s edicts restricting assemblies to 10 people, requiring people to be spaced at least 6 feet apart, and urging wearing masks had nothing to do with protecting people from the Chinese Virus, but was just a power grab. (2) Caesar Cooper hates Blacks and their racial nihilist White supporters and wants them to become ill with the Chinese Virus since he has done nothing to restrain these protesters from violating his edicts.

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