Spokane protesters react to violence, plead for change

SPOKANE, Wash. — A protest sparked by the in-custody death of a black man in Minnesota has sparked marches across the country, including Spokane. It started out peaceful, then took a turn.

According to law enforcement officials, the violence that erupted in downtown Spokane was lead by out-of-state extremists groups. The actions were condemned by protesters.

“We weren’t doing anything violent. All of the violence — that wasn’t us. That’s not what we were doing there,” said Bailey, who protested on Sunday. “We just wanted to speak our voice. Have peace. That’s what the whole thing was is we just wanted peace.”

People gathered outside the Red Wagon on Sunday afternoon. Signs in hand and chants echoing in the downtown corridor, many saying George Floyd’s name. One protester, along with others, took their passion to the courthouse.

“I was like say his name, and everyone would be like George Floyd,” Ivanna said, who chanted at officers surrounding the courthouse. “It’s not fair for what they’re doing to black people in the streets. Just the whole black community is done with it. It’s been 400 years and we still have oppression.”

Her chants also came with fear.

“It’s scary,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know if I’m going to get shot or something or just like, I’m just scared.”

During the unrest, Ivanna and Bailey kept thinking about what they were standing for as tear gas and rubber bullets flooded the streets.

“I’m just done with it. I don’t want to be in this racist America anymore,” Ivanna said. “I don’t wanna feel oppression constantly.”

Josiah was nearby watching the violence.

“That is not what we wanted,” he said. “Violence is not what we wanted. Destruction of property is not what we wanted.”

But he was happy to see protesters come together.

“I was really proud that, hey everyone is here for the right reason, and everybody cares enough and like, hey you need to knock that off,” Josiah said.

He said he went to the protest to fight for transparency from the police officers.

“Your loudest supporters should be your loudest critics as well, I think because if they really value the badge, if they really value those values, they should be like hey that’s misrepresenting the badge and misrepresenting justice,” Josiah said.

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