PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD)–Protesters across the country are still continuing to gather in light of recent events involving police brutality.
A peaceful protest with signs held and voices being heard was held in downtown Pekin on Saturday afternoon. Rally goers protesting against police brutality. Organizers say the event was designed to be peaceful.
“We’re here to make change and to make good things happen,” said organizer, Brittany Wagley.
Attempts were made to disrupt the peace, but protesters remained peaceful. Pekin Police chief, John Dossey says officers were surveying the area from afar to monitor public safety.
Chief Dossey says a man who he says, seemed to be a ‘professional inciter’ tried to turn the group a different direction. Dossey told WMBD over the phone the man left after regularizing the protesters were going to remain peaceful.
“He clearly was trying to turn that group into a different direction. We were pleased the group maintained a peaceful protest, which is their right,” Dossey said over phone.
Dossey says four men were cited for disorderly conduct after getting into verbal altercations with protesters. Dossey states the four men drove around in their truck with the Confederate flag and Trump 2020 flag and eventually the flags were taken by the crowd. Dossey says all altercations were verbal and no punches were thrown and that emotions were running high.
The group over 100 gathered outside the Tazewell County Courthouse holding signs and chanting the names of minorities who lost their lives at the hands of police. Hoping to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality in America.
“We’re trying to spread love and we’re not trying to cause any pain, we just want unity and most important justice for people,” Wagley said.
One protester says she wants small towns such as Pekin to be more accepting places.
“There’s still some people who are really rude and if I can try and educate them and teach them to be kind then that’s really what I would like to do,” said protester, Maya Crowder.
Demonstrators laid on the ground for nearly eight minutes and 46 seconds to mark the amount of time George Floyd had his neck knelt on by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who now faces felony charges.
People in the crowd saying they have never seen anything like this in Pekin.
“I am blown away by the support that Pekin really came out and showed today,” Wagley said.
“It seemed like there are a lot more people than I had assumed, which is really nice to see,” Crowder said.
Police blocked off the streets to give protesters a space to freely express their rights in a safe manner.