‘Stop killing us!’: Protesters in Marietta demand change in policing

Walton High School student Joseph Fisher, 18, protests in Marietta Square on Wednesday.  JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

Combined ShapeCaption
Walton High School student Joseph Fisher, 18, protests in Marietta Square on Wednesday. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

Credit: John Amis

Marietta Square saw its second protest in three days when about 100 people, mostly teens and college-age students, rallied against police brutality amid the outcry over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota while in police custody.

Wednesday’s protest was peaceful and included people who varied in age, race and ethnicity. Some even brought their smaller children with them to the demonstration.

Joseph Fischer, a Walton High School student who lives in East Cobb, said he learned of the protest on social media and spread the word to his friends and classmates.

“It’s so great to see people coming from all over the area,” said Fischer, who identifies as mixed race. The teen held a sign that said he was half-black, half-white and “100% outraged.”

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The crowd chanted phrases such as, “black lives matter,” “no justice, no peace,” “no racist police,” “say his name,” “stop killing us” and “I can’t breathe.”

During one moment, the crowd faced east towards the Cobb County judicial complex where several sheriff’s deputies were standing and continued with their chants.

The deaths of black people in America were once again brought to the forefront when cell phone video of the Feb. 23 shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County became public in early May, more than two months after his fatal encounter with father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, who are white.

Both men, along with William “Roddie” Bryan, Jr., who recorded the shooting, have been charged with murder. Bryan also faces one count of criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Within four days of Floyd's death, Chauvin was fired from the police force. He was initially charged with third-degree murder, but those charges were upgraded Wednesday to second-degree murder. Three other other former officers − J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao − may face aiding and abetting murder charges, according to multiple news reports.

Video of Floyd’s last moments alive shocked many around the country, and protests have erupted in several cities around the nation.

Cobb County NAACP President Jeriene Grimes, who was invited to speak at the protest, told the audience that protesting via the ballot box was also key in making sure their voices were heard. She also encouraged the audience to lobby their state lawmakers to pass hate crime legislation in Georgia.

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Grimes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that these last few weeks have been “troubling.”

“As a leader in the community, this is not new,” she said, referring to the deaths of unarmed black people. “I’m really excited at the fact that there’s now an awareness that’s broader than the circumference of our membership. To see it touch on a broader scale is hopeful.”

Kathryn Madison, a Marietta resident who will begin attending Chattahoochee Technical College in the fall, said the death of Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, have scared her.

“I’m scared for myself, my family and any black person in my life,” said Madison.

Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician, was killed when police executed a no-knock search warrant for illegal drugs at her home on March 13. No drugs were found.

Madison said she hopes the public at large understands that the killing of unarmed black people in America is a human rights issues.

“This is so much more than a trending hashtag,” she said.

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