TOPEKA, Kan. – The effects of George Floyd’s death can be felt much closer to home.
Kansans are responding with protests of their own – and local leaders are speaking out.
In Junction City, a protest started at Heritage Park Friday night. Further east, demonstrators also lined streets in Manhattan.
Mayor Usha Redding condemned the, “Senseless, tragic, and brutal death.”
She continued in a release saying, “It is not lost on me how institutional structures have perpetuated racism. It is not lost on me that it is not enough to be non-racist, but it is important to be anti-racist. It is not lost on me that black lives matter.”
Director of the Riley County Police Department Dennis Butler expressed how he felt when he saw the video in an open letter.
“I had the same gut reaction as when Walter Scott was murdered by a police officer in South Carolina and when Ahmed Arberey was murdered in Georgia by vigilantes and then law enforcement and prosecutors were slow to do their jobs … You should know that we do not teach that arrest tactic and we do not tolerate it.”
Topeka Police Chief Bill Cochran tweeted something similar.
“I have been trying to finding the words to express how dismayed I am after watching the video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The actions that led to Mr. Floyd’s death are indefensible … as a law enforcement officer who took the oath to serve and protect 33 years ago, I refuse to stay silent about this. We have to do better.”
Governor Laura Kelly also called on Kansans to do better.
She posted this statement, “the death of George Floyd was unnecessary and preventable … His death is the latest example of systemic racism that we must acknowledge – and address – in our communities, our neighborhoods and our places of work.”
Black lives matter protests along the plaza in Kansas City Friday night are reported to be peaceful, with no arrests.
In Topeka, groups plan to rally outside the statehouse at 11:00 a.m. Saturday.