On behalf of the men and women of the Merced Police Department,
I’d like to express my gratitude to those attending the George Floyd memorial in
Courthouse Park earlier today. You exercised your right to assemble in a genuinely
meaningful and peaceful way for an important reason, and, in doing so,
brought honor upon yourselves and to our community.
Chief of Police
Mercedians from all walks of life gathered on the steps of the Merced County Courthouse Museum on Saturday afternoon to take part in a demonstration and march in protest of the recent death of George Floyd, an African-American man, that occurred on May 25, in Minneapolis, when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Since Floyd’s death, Chauvin and the three officers who were with him at the time of the incident, Thomas K. Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, have been fired.
On May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter for Floyd’s death, with Hennepin County attorney Michael O. Freeman saying he anticipated charges to be brought against the other three officers at the scene of Floyd’s death. Currently the Federal Bureau of Investigations is conducting a federal civil rights investigation into the incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The Merced demonstration began with numerous speakers, poets, and others taking to the steps of the Merced County Courthouse Museum to share their thoughts and feelings of Floyd’s death with those in attendance. Many of the speakers shared feelings of anxiety and frustrations in their dealings with police, and pointed to the need for change occur. Others echoed similar sentiments while asking for residents to become more engaged in their local communities by attending school board meetings, running for city council, or by remembering to vote during election day to create a more inclusive community representative of everyone.
Several speakers pushed the group to not have their message lost through the destruction of property or by inciting violence that has been seen in places like Minneapolis and Atlanta.
As the community speakers made their way off of the steps, organizer and local business owner Melissa Eisner made her way up front to inform marchers of the path that the group would be taking, while cautioning them from blocking roads or sidewalks, and other activities though could see the march be dispersed by local law enforcement.
As those in attendance made their way from the steps of the Merced County Courthouse Museum, they headed across Courthouse Park to M Street to circle around the park. Once back on M Street, marchers headed to 18th Street and M Street before crossing the street and making their way to the Merced Police Station where they circled the block before gathering at the corner. A final loop from the crowd would see them head back to Courthouse Park before making their way from M Street to O Street, where they would make their way in front of the Merced County Sheriffs Office on their way back to the Merced County Superior Court.
Once back on M Street, protesters lined M Street with signs in hand as vehicles passing by throughout the afternoon.
Later on, Merced Police Chief Tom Cavallero issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the men and women of the Merced Police Department, I’d like to express my gratitude to those attending the George Floyd memorial in Courthouse Park earlier today.
“You exercised your right to assemble in a genuinely meaningful and peaceful way for an important reason, and, in doing so, brought honor upon yourselves and to our community.