Floyd protest Day 7 blog: Twin protests end peacefully at curfew

By Updated: June 05, 2020 1:50 PM CT | Published: June 02, 2020 6:38 PM CT

Two groups of protesters worked in tandem Tuesday night, one moving down Germantown Parkway from Shelby Farms, the other starting at I Am a Man Plaza Downtown. Both ended peacefully before curfew.


Watch live: Protesters stop traffic on Germantown Parkway

8:55 PM CT, June 2

While protesters march Downtown, another group has stopped traffic across town on Germantown Parkway. 

Watch below:

 

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Protesters stop traffic on Germantown Parkway

8:17 PM CT, June 2

A chunk of Darin Abston’s group is at the Agricenter.

Abston is giving people instructions about crossing Germantown Parkway. Eventually they are saying they are going to lay in the street. 

Everyone has been released from 201 Poplar, Abston says which was met with cheers.

Protesters are stopping traffic on Germantown Parkway with a slow walk.

On Germantown Parkway traffic is stopped. No police are here. “No justice. no peace” chants have erupted. Cars are beginning to honk as the group continues to walk back and forth on Germantown Parkway.

 

Individuals are lying in the intersection at Germantown Parkway chanting, “I can’t breathe.”

 

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Group gathers at Shelby Farms Park

7:18 PM CT, June 2

There’s a group of about 30 at Shelby Farms Park including Darin Abston.

He encouraged people to come here because this is a predominantly white area.

 
 
 
 

 

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Watch live: Downtown protest

6:37 PM CT, June 2

This is the seventh night of protests in Memphis following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

This protest began at I Am A Man Plaza.

Watch below:

 

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Seventh night of protests begins Downtown

6:43 PM CT, June 2

The seventh day of the protests is starting. Activist Frank Gottie is asking the crowd if they should shut down roadways. 

The crowd is arguing now over Gottie’s question. 

“This is for real y’all, this is not for play,” Gottie said. “They are not going to listen to us until we do something to show them we are serious.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” a woman is yelling at Gottie. “I am not losing my job.”

Activist DeVante Hill who has led the protest is not here yet. 

The crowd is asking for him. They do not want to block the highway or bridge. 

Protesters are gathered at the “I Am A Man Plaza” next to Clayborn Temple. 

About 300 are gathered. 

Frank Gottie said he is waiting for DeVante Hill. 

He is now asking the crowd why the police director and city officials are not here to listen to their demands.

The crowd is singing “This Little Light of Mine” to drown out Gottie’s discussion about “shutting things down.”

DeVante Hill has arrived and the crowd erupts in applause.

He is saying the group needs to move together and is dispelling rumors that he profited off T-shirts. He said they plan to give away 300 T-shirts.

Gottie and Hill are both speaking on megaphones and drowning each other out. 

At Monday’s protest the two reconciled their differences, but it seems they are still not on the same page about how to lead the protest. 

“If you don’t want to shut stuff down, go home,” Gottie told the crowd. 

The crowd ignored him and lined up to get free T-shirts.

Still not marching. Hill is now dividing the crowd by their race. 

“Are you ready to heal Memphis,” Hill told the crowd. “We are going to have uncomfortable conversations.”

He is having the black people in the crowd scream, “I am hurt!” 

Now he’s talking to white people and having them scream “I want to hear you!”

He asks people of other races to yell, “We are not forgotten!”

He said the people in the community need to know that it is time for “the city to heal.”

“Memphis can be the catalyst of change for the entire world,” Hill said. 

He is now having the crowd yell, “I can’t breathe,” the last words of George Floyd.

He closed his eyes as the group chanted, “I can’t breathe.”

“I think tonight we are all ready to heal,” Hill said. “Tonight when you are marching, march beside someone who does not look like you.”

He urges the group to take a picture with someone of another race and tag them on Facebook. 

He asks the crowd to find someone who doesn’t look like them and post the pictures on social media at 7:25 p.m.

Justin Shields, Mason Shields and Charity Holmes took a picture together.

“This is the Memphis , I know Memphis can be,” Justin Shields said. 

Charity Holmes added, “This is a nice way to break down barriers and get over the stigmas.”

“If we can’t breathe, y’all can’t breathe,” Hill said. 

He told the crowd he planned to slow down the march tonight to make sure no one is left behind.

The crowd chants, “If we can’t breathe, y’all can’t breathe!”

Hill said they plan to eradicate racism. 

“Tonight we are going to pick up torch that Dr. King had when he was shot on that balcony. We are going to pick up that torch and erase racism.”

Protesters are about to leave I Am A Man Plaza.

Hill is now lining up crowd to march.  

“We gone stay focused,” Hill said. 

He is now asking someone with a banner that reads “prosecute racist police” to lead the march with him. 

The march is underway on Hernando Street and the crowd is chanting “George Floyd.”

Before the march began Tiona Sanders passed out sandwiches and water to protesters and homeless people in the area. 

Standing beside a sign that read, “Here 4 My Son” Sanders explained why she decided after Monday’s protest to feed people. 

“I have a 6-year- old son and I want to teach him to be a black man in America,”  Sanders said. 

She also passed out name tags to protesters with the names of all victims killed by police.

The crowd is now taking a knee on G.E. Patterson Avenue for 9 minutes for all who lost their lives to police brutality. 

“Memphis is about to show the world how to do it,” Hill told the crowd. “We are going to do great things in Memphis.”

Hill says the city has got to heal for the children dying, especially black children dying in the city. 

“Nobody is coming together to help us with our rage,” he said.

The march Tuesday night is not about police brutality but racial inequality, Hill said. 

Thus is the seventh night of protest march in Memphis after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis while in police custody.

Hill is telling people watching the protest from their apartment balconies to join them as they march down G.E. Patterson Avenue

The crowd is chanting and marching as they approach B.B. King. 

They are marching by the post office on B.B. King Boulevard.

They are chanting “George Floyd” and “our streets.”

They are now chanting “Breonna Taylor” for woman shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hill is now telling the crowd that young black girls are traumatized in Memphis too. 

As the group rests on B.B. King Boulevard, he tells the crowd that they can all heal together. Hill lets a young woman lead the crowd in a chant, “We ready for change.”

 

Protesters are headed under the viaduct on B.B. King Boulevard.

 

The group is marching toward E.H. Crump Boulevard.

They are taking a knee again to give protesters a water break.

Hill is telling the crowd what they are doing is “not for the faint at heart.” 

The crowd recognizes protesters from other states including Mississippi and Arkansas. 

Hill asks the crowd to give one of his Downtown neighbors who is homeless a bag to help her. The woman had found an iPhone and turned it in to him. 

The crowd gives her money to help her. 

He is also helping a homeless man, telling both that their lives are about to change as he prays for them. 

Hill is a pastor and leads a church service in the middle of Third Street and E.H. Crump Boulevard.

This is a different tone tonight than other protests. Tonight they are addressing not only police brutality but social ills of the world including racism and homelessness.

Protesters approaching a line of police cars that are blocking  streets for them.

Residents in South Memphis join chants as protesters go by.

Residents yell “that’s right” as  the group yells “George Floyd!”

This is the first time the protest has ventured out of Downtown into South Memphis.

Hill tells crowd he has received messages from people saying they wanted to join protest but did not have a car or a driver’s license so he changed the route of protest.

“We gonna walk though the hood,” he said. “People told me not to go to the hood. I told them my business is the hood.”

Protesters sit in the middle of E.H. Crump Boulevard as Hill tells the crowd “this is a pro-Memphis” protest.

Protesters are giving the crowd water.

Protesters head toward Mason Temple where Dr. King gave his historic “Mountaintop” speech. They plan to sing  “Amazing Grace” outside landmark church.

Hill is tells the crowd that his mother is a nurse who raised four kids alone on Winbranch and Tchulahoma.

He said his mother told him she had life insurance on him because she worried about his safety leading the protest.

He said he told her he had found “something worth dying for.”

He said the protest is what he is supposed to be doing as he shared a personal moment with crowd.

The crowd is singing “Amazing Grace” as they approach Mason Temple COGIC Church, where Dr. King gave his last speech.

A man is telling the crowd they are on “holy ground” at the church. He said “change is coming,” but everyone needs to “stand together.”

A man is leading the crowd in Psalms 23.

Hill is now back on his bullhorn telling the crowd tonight’s protest will bring change. “This is not a political movement. It has everything to do with the spirit of Dr. King.”

The crowd is chanting, “I’m heading to the top!”

Hill said people keep asking who is the leader of the movement. He said he replies, “We are,” adding, “I want all of us to get to the top together.”

A woman is overheated. The group has stopped to help her. The crowd seeks medical professionals to help her. The woman receives help and the protesters march back toward Crump.

 Devonte Hill asked the crowd to post pictures from the protest to let people know “peaceful is the way in Memphis, Tennessee.” He ended the protest with prayer for peace and thanked the crowd for having a “spirit of unity, a spirit of justice and an equality to protest.”

Residents in South Memphis are supporting the protest with fists raised in the air as a police helicopter hovers above.

The curfew will begin in one hour.

The crowd is headed back toward Downtown, as they shout “George Floyd!”

The crowd of about 300 people is headed back on B.B. King Boulevard. They are tired and hot but push onward. 

The crowd chants “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” as they walk past police blocking intersections for them.

They are still chanting as they march back to I Am a Man Plaza. Hill tells them to chant loudly for the people in apartments on B.B. King Boulevard. They are chanting “Black lives matter.”

People are taking a knee before the protest ends. 

“Did tonight not feel good? We are doing this tomorrow and do it all over again.”

He asked the crowd to post pictures from the protest to let people know “peaceful is the way in Memphis, Tennessee.” 

Hill ends the protest with prayer for peace. He thanks the crowd for having a “spirit of unity, a spirit of justice and an equality to protest.”

“Amen,” he says, and that ends Day 7 of the protest.

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