Group holds ‘peaceful’ protest in Marietta

Protesters took to the streets of Marietta Monday to express outrage at the latest instance in the number of African Americans dying in police custody.

Between 75 and 100 people marched from Laurel Park on Manning Road to Glover Park on Marietta Square Monday to call for change in how police officers engage with black citizens.

Marietta resident Justin Simmonds said protesters are “sick and tired of being sick and tired” of the steady drumbeat of videos showing unarmed black people dying during encounters with police.

“The message we want to get across is that it’s not just a black problem. It’s a societal problem,” he said. “All lives don’t matter unless black lives are included.”

Monday's demonstration followed a spontaneous protest held Sunday in Marietta as well as another march held in Kennesaw. Two Cobb school board members, Jaha Howard and Charisse Davis, also participated in a Call to Action For Anti-Racism demonstration Sunday in Smyrna.

Those demonstrations followed two days of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked protests across Atlanta and nationwide.

Floyd died in police custody and former officer Derek Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was fired from the Minneapolis force and charged in his death.

SEE: AJC’s complete coverage on the Atlanta protests

Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy said officers were on hand to assist with traffic control during what he said was a "peaceful" gathering.

“This was a collaboration between a group of youth wanting to exercise their right to free speech and a police department trying to ensure their’s and everyone else’s safety and protection,” he said.

In Lawrenceville, officials will close City Hall to the public at 3 p.m. and impose a 9 p.m. curfew Monday following protests in that area. City Manager Chuck Warbington said a handful of people were arrested Sunday after hitting cars, throwing rocks and refusing to leave the street, but a protest earlier in the day was peaceful.

Simmonds said news of Floyd’s death has been “frightening and disheartening and alarming,” and reminds him that black people captured on video taking their last breaths “could very well [be] me just because of the color of my skin.”

“MLK says that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere,” he said. “Today, it could be us, but tomorrow it could be you.”

AJC reporter Arielle Kass contributed to this report.