KALAMAZOO, Mich. — After days of watching a viral video of a Minneapolis police officer kneel on top of George Floyd’s neck, which led to his death, Monique Crowley was devastated.
“It makes me want to check on my kids,” Crowley said during an interview with FOX 17 on Friday. “It makes me want to check on my husband. It makes me want to hug them a little bit tighter. It makes me want to love them a little bit longer.”
And like many who saw the viral video, Crowley wanted to do something in response, she said.
So, she put together a protest.
“Our nation is heartbroken right now,” Crowley said. “And everybody wants to do something. I think everybody’s just not really sure about where we should start. So I think organizing and coming together is a great beginning.”
Crowley said the protest will be at 12 p.m. on Saturday May 30 in the downtown Kalamazoo. It’ll begin with a march from the bus depot on Kalamazoo Avenue and end on Kings Highway.
“I know there are a lot of concerned citizens here in southwestern Michigan that would like to have their voice be heard,” Crowley said. “I think Kalamazoo would be a great central location for us to do that.”
Crowley said after she posted on social media about the protest online, the response has been positive. People have also been expressing their devastation too about Floyd's death.
“I’m personally disgusted at the way George Floyd was treated,” said Kalamazoo County Richard Fuller in a video posted to his Facebook page. “And I’m offended as a professional, like many of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, as to the actions of these officers.”
Fuller began the video by offering his condolences to the Floyd’s family. He then condemned how the Minneapolis police officers handled the situation.
“I go back to my training from the very beginning, in the 1980s and all the way up to what we teach people today, and those are not techniques that you use,” Sheriff Fuller said during a Zoom interview on Friday. “One of the things that we’ve worked very hard in the last 10 years to change is the way that law enforcement engages with its community.”
Sheriff Fuller added that officers and deputies in the county are trained on de-escalation and community relations, with the goal of building a safe relationship between citizens and law enforcement.
He wanted to make sure citizens knew that, so he posted the video.
“I felt that it’s time that leaders in law enforcement can no longer sit silent when they see something that is as egregious of an action,” Sheriff Fuller said. “We need our communities to be together.”
Immediately following Floyd’s death, protests broke out in Minneapolis, leading to several buildings being damaged including police stations.
Thrusday and Friday, additional protests occurred in cities throughout the country, including Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, New York, Detroit and Boston.
Sheriff Fuller said he understands that ‘riots happens when people feel they have no voice.’
However, he said law enforcement needs to listen more and that all protesters should be non-violent.
“Peaceful protests go a long way,” Sheriff Fuller said. “Once people start acting outside of the normal peaceful protest, then nobody listens.”
She said the protest she’s organizing will be peaceful and she intends to make it home at the end of it.
“Some of my kids are planning on attending this protest,” Crowley said. “My husband’s going to be there. I want to get home to my kids that won’t be attending. The goal is to have a very peaceful protest.”