People Hit Streets in Grand Rapids, Detroit After Verdict

Cole Bond, left, and Mike Jack, from Fence Consultants of West Michigan, put up barricades in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, April 20, 2021, as a jury deliberates fate of Derek Chauvin.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — People rallied Tuesday in Detroit and Grand Rapids after a jury in Minneapolis convicted a former police officer of murder in the death of George Floyd.

Grand Rapids, which had some of Michigan’s worst violence last May after Floyd’s death, placed concrete barriers around the police department just hours before the verdict was announced.

Officials said they would protect the right to peacefully assemble but also wanted to be on guard for “chaos and destruction.”

“Whatever the outcome of this trial, we know people will be emotional and passionate in their reactions,” police Chief Eric Payne and City Manager Mark Washington said in a joint statement.

Marchers with Black Lives Matter signs moved through downtown Grand Rapids, calling for police reform and chanting the names of Black people who have been killed by police.

In Detroit, police Chief James Craig said Floyd’s death was a “stain on our profession.”

“The justice system worked,” he said, referring to verdict against Derek Chauvin. Nonetheless, over 40 community-based organizations in Detroit have called for Craig's resignation for misleading statements and the use of brutal and deadly force against people demonstrating and living in the city.

Chauvin, who is white, put his knee on Floyd’s neck during an arrest. He was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the Black man’s death.

Floyd’s death led to weeks of daily protests in Detroit. People returned to the streets after the verdict.

“If justice is to be found in this system, it will only be found using the methods of mass, militant struggles that make the chant ‘No Justice, No Peace’ real,” a group called Detroit Will Breathe said.

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