After almost a week of protests, riots, and general unrest among many larger cities across the U.S., Trinidad citizens came together to protest peacefully on Monday, June 1 at Central Park.
The group stood along the sidewalk and waved signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd,” who was killed as a result of what many are calling police brutality. According to protesters, Floyd’s death was the breaking point for action.
“In a world pandemic when we’re all supposed to be equal and we’re all supposed to be in this together, they went and took an innocent man’s life and then they backed it,” said Christian Adams, one of the protesters at the event. “George Floyd was the tipping point.”
Beginning at Noon, protesters chanted and a few shared their feelings, from frustration to outrage, in regards to those who have been wronged or killed at the hand of the people who are charged to protect and serve. But the protest was not against all police officers.
“I do believe good cops do exist but there are some things where we just can’t have gray areas,” said Adams. “As a cop, you sign an oath to protect and serve. I’m with the good cops and I want the good cops to stand up and that’s what we’re really here for.”
Trinidad Police Officers monitored the protest throughout the day, with Captain Dan DuRan saying they had no issues with the protest and that it remained peaceful. He, along with Trinidad Police Chief Charles Glorioso both added that they understood the importance of keeping all officers accountable to uphold the law for everyone.
“As officers of the Trinidad Police Department, we strive to treat each individual regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or gender with dignity and respect,” said Glorioso. “The misconduct of a few shouldn’t define who we are as a whole. Police leaders need to question and condemn actions that are illegal so that we can build trust within our community. Officers who fail to uphold this founding principle should be held accountable.”
“The Trinidad Police Department works every day to respect our community,” said DuRan. “Our community is where we live, our family lives, and our children and grandchildren will grow. Our sole purpose is to serve, protect and keep the peace.
From the poorest to richest, to the criminal or priest, everyone is our neighbor; they are all someone’s child.”
At one point after nearly 60 people had come together, all of them laid down on the ground and for nine minutes they chanted repeatedly, “I can’t breath.” People driving by slowed to witness the event, with many honking in support of their peaceful exercise of freedom of speech.
“We’re all here for peace and this is nothing more than a peaceful protest,” said Adams. “You can see it, we have smiles on our faces but we’re here for a reason. We’ve got to make change happen.”