Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Connecticut Residents Join in Protesting the Death of George Floyd

By Jim Welch and Harriet Jones

Protesters in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, New London, and other parts of Connecticut joined a nationwide call for action today following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The protests come as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold — one day after the Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that further relaxes state restrictions related to the virus.

{Westport sent several officers to Bridgeport in response to a call for help from Bridgeport police. It was not immediately known where they were deployed.}

Demonstrators wearing masks gathered in Colt Park and Bushnell Park in Hartford and marched in the street to the State Capitol — causing temporary delays for buses and traffic. The crowd leaving from Bushell Park marched by the Hartford Public Safety Complex on its way to the Capitol. Demonstrators held signs to protest Floyd’s death, criticize police, brutality, and show unity.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement that the protest was both powerful and peaceful.

In Bridgeport, protesters blocked a highway in the afternoon. The 27a offramps of I-95 South and North were closed and Route 25/Route 8 also faced closures, according to Connecticut State Police. The state police worked to reroute traffic.

“Your voice will be heard,” the Connecticut State Police said in a tweet shortly after 5 p.m.

And, in New London, a rally was organized by Jinneka Jackson from Norwich.

“I just decided we needed action,” she said. “Facebook posts are not enough, we need to get involved.”

“Let’s take these ideas and actually implement them. What can we do to prevent a death, what can we do to have a better relationship with our police so that we’re not afraid?” she asked. “When I get pulled over, I’m afraid — what can we do to minimize that?”

Kamil Johnson, 17, from New London, said that protests matter.

“We have a voice, and if we don’t use it, nothing’s gonna happen,” he said. “Having all these people use their voice, it’s going to be heard one day.”

“Equality, that’s really it,” Johnson said. “That’s all the fight is for.”

And Nae-Shawn Teague, 16, also from New London, said people who don’t live in minority communities can’t understand what he sees when he sees the video of Floyd’s death.

“There’s no way for them to understand it because they’re not around it, they don’t see it constantly,” Teague said. “Where they come from, they’re used to police being the good guys, their friends, they help them. But they’re not used to seeing police killing people for no reason, beating them, arresting them for no reason.”

New London Police Chief Peter Reichard was invited and addressed the crowd. He has condemned the actions of officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged in Floyd’s death. And Curtis K. Goodwin, a New London city councilor, said this is not a time to wait.

Protesters gather in New London to demonstrate in response to the death of George Floyd.

“We can’t just wait for there to be another black death or for there to be another murder,” Goodwin said. “We have to understand in order to effect change we have to make sure the tools and the resources are there for our youth, so that the next generation truly reflects the change that we put forth.”

“To be a poor person of color in America is a tough thing to do,” Goodwin said. “It is truly tough.”

Protests in Connecticut today remained peaceful while looting and rioting has plagued protests in cities including Minneapolis and Atlanta. Minnesota officials announced Friday the former police officer who pinned Floyd under his knee while Floyd was in handcuffs would be charged with murder.

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