More than 60 people gathered at a street corner near Plainfield North High School to protest the death of George Floyd in police custody, police violence and racial discrimination.
The protesters waved signs Tuesday afternoon at the corner of 119th Street and 248th Avenue and many of passing cars honked in support of them.
Tim King, of Plainfield, said the protest was organized as a peaceful showing of solidarity that also demanded the arrest of the other officers who were at the scene of Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis.
“We want to make sure they get it right this time,” King said.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. Chauvin was fired after the incident, along with Minneapolis officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane. Thao, Kueng and Lane have not been charged.
The protesters chanted Floyd’s name, as well as “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” “Black Lives Matter!” and “No justice, no peace!”
Former NFL player Kapri Bibbs, a Plainfield North High School graduate, gave a speech at the protest. Bibbs told the crowd that Plainfield is different from other towns because the residents “have real unity.”
“We have people ready to step up for a cause,” Bibbs said.
Bibbs spoke about difficulties growing up in Harvey and how black people have been forced to rely on each other for community. He said it’s important for people to learn about the history of racism in the U.S.
“Really know our nation’s past, really know the grounds that we’re stepping on right now were literally slave grounds,” Bibbs said.
A driver who passed by the protest had yelled “White power!” but Bibbs pressed on with his speech and told the protesters they were going to be “the change in the community.”
“We are the ground breakers. We are the trailblazers,” he said.
Jackson Taylor, of Naperville, said he was at the protest because he thought Floyd’s death was unjust.
“Violence is not solving any of these issues,” he said.
Joliet resident Kelly Larson said she was at the protest because she believed “black lives matter” and the lives of the students she teaches matter.
“It’s time for a change in this country,” she said.
Larson said there are many ways people can create change besides protesting, such as writing to elected officials.
One one of the protesters passed out but she was helped by others and two Plainfield police officers, including police Cmdr. Ken Ruggles, who only said she had a medical issue. She was taken from the scene by ambulance.