A group of about 40 individuals marched on Sunday from Moreland Park to Kentucky 54 in a protest against police brutality.
The individuals, most of which were from Owensboro, organized the protest march in a group chat. Many of them also participated in the protests that took place Saturday, in which the Glover H. Cary Bridge was shut down when a group of individuals blocked traffic.
The protest was one of many taking place across the country throughout last week and the weekend in response to the death of George Floyd, who died when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nine minutes while other officers watched, after police were called to investigate a possible counterfeit bill.
Ruthie Goode, of Owensboro, spent a few hours before the march standing at the corner of Frederica Street and Parrish Avenue holding up a sign that read “I can’t breathe,” which is something Floyd reportedly told officers before he lost consciousness.
Goode, who said she has African American children, chose to do that on her own because she felt it was the right thing to do. When the crowd of protesters marched passed her onto Frederica Street, she joined them.
“It’s really important that we come out and show our support and let everyone know that this is not OK,” she said. “No matter what color you are, you shouldn’t be killed like that.”
Goode said when people, especially police, see her children “they see black kids, and that’s how they are treated.”
“I want them to be treated better,” she said. “We need to right this wrong because it’s been going on for too long.”
As the protesters made their way down Frederica Street and onto Ninth Street, passers-by honked their horns and held their fists out their vehicle windows in support. Some people ran to the street from their homes to offer water.
Becky Himes, of Owensboro, was one such person.
“I can’t join them today, but wanted them to have water on a hot day because I feel like that’s what God would want us to do,” she said.
As the protesters marched, Owensboro Police Department officers traveled in front and behind them in their vehicles. They also drove ahead to ensure traffic was blocked with the crowd passed through intersections.
Sunday morning OPD Chief Art Ealum issued a statement regarding the protests, saying the department supports them.
“Our citizens seized (on Saturday) the opportunity to march through areas of our downtown at times disrupting traffic and blocking the Glover H. Cary Bridge,” he wrote. “Our mission was to protect all citizens; therefore, we rerouted traffic around our community activists. The minor inconvenience that motorists experience yesterday paled in comparison to the social injustices that African Americans and other people of color have suffered in our country for centuries.”
He went on to say that although some individuals in the crowd had ill intentions, a majority of those participating represented themselves and the community well.
“It’s great to engage in discourse but it requires all sides to be civil and respectful; that doesn’t mean we have to always agree,” Ealum said. “I am very proud of our citizens who participated in the demonstration without resorting to violence and destruction other cities have experienced this past week. I commend the Owensboro Police Officers who maintained order and protected the activists as they walked around our great city. We all want peace in this city and we all value human life.”
Bobbie Hayse, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-691-7315