Local leaders call for weekend protests to be loud, peaceful

Grandview Medical Center staff kneel in their white coats Friday as part of White Coats for Black Lives. They joined healthcare professionals across the county in a moment of silent reflection and commitment to improve the health and safety of peopleof color. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF
Grandview Medical Center staff kneel in their white coats Friday as part of White Coats for Black Lives. They joined healthcare professionals across the county in a moment of silent reflection and commitment to improve the health and safety of peopleof color. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF

Protests after the death of George Floyd are scheduled for at least six Dayton-area communities Saturday, and leaders such as Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald are encouraging people to make their voices heard in peaceful protest.

“As I watched the video of Mr. Floyd’s murder, I couldn’t help but cry,” McDonald said. “Mr. Floyd cried out for his mother. I’m a mother, and I was reminded of the many times that I’ve been concerned about my own son and his safety. For a brief moment, I personally could not breathe. Mr. Floyd’s cry is the nightmare no mother wants to hear or ever experience.”

RELATED: Forum on police/community relations Wednesday

Demonstrations are planned for Dayton, Trotwood, Miami Twp. and Huber Heights in Montgomery County, plus Xenia and Yellow Springs in Greene County (see details below).

Yolanda Simpson of Black Lives Matter Miami Valley said protesters need this time to grieve and heal and to do it with others alongside them. But she said it’s also important that veterans of local racial justice efforts use this time to connect with the next generation of leaders.

“Unfortunately, we’ve grieved these losses so many times, so it’s time to make sure we’re all on the same page when we come up with very dramatic and radical changes to make sure we don’t have another George Floyd or Jamarco McShann or John Crawford III,” Simpson said.

An armed demonstration that had been planned for downtown Dayton today has been canceled. Organizer Alec Livida said he decided Dayton wasn’t ready for an open-carry event less than a year after the Oregon District shootings, and he added he didn’t want to distract from proposals on police policy changes.

MORE DETAILS: Armed demonstration canceled

Another protest is planned for noon today at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.

Lt. Col. Eric Henderson said the Dayton Police Department will have a plan to cover any events within their jurisdiction.

“We cannot offer legal advice, but we ask that citizens follow directions provided by officers to ensure everyone remains safe,” Henderson said. “All events that took place on or after (Sunday) have remained peaceful, and we would like to thank everyone who participated. We expect all events this weekend to remain peaceful.”

Nationwide protests — some peaceful, some violent — were ignited by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd died while in police custody. Officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, faces second-degree murder and other charges, while the other three officers present face charges of aiding and abetting murder.

Now, protesters are turning their goals toward the future.

“I hope that this is awakening people’s desire to see justice and change,” Simpson said. “It’s incredibly hopeful that we are on the cusp of something new and innovative.”

RELATED: State official seeks input on police reform

Hundreds are expected to gather at 11 a.m. in Trotwood at Madison Park, with a march planned down East Main Street through Free Pike and ending at John Wolfe Park.

McDonald encouraged all mothers, families, sororities, fraternities and churches to come out and peacefully protest. There will be opportunities to register to vote and fill out the U.S. census at the protest as well.

Trotwood Police Chief Erik Wilson said he too encourages peaceful protesters to come out, but he warned the city will not stand for any illegal activity.

“We’re going to walk with you to ensure your safety because that is our duty,” Wilson said.

Huber Heights is also preparing for a protest, along with register-to-vote activities, at 5 p.m. at the NorthPark Shopping Center on Old Troy Road.

NEW EVENTS: More weekend protests planned throughout region

Earlier this week, Huber Heights officials held a press conference with the Dayton NAACP and said the city welcomes peaceful protests.

“We are confident that through our relationships with our diverse community and with leadership organizations like the NAACP, our community will lead and prevail and contribute to getting voices heard to make needed changes,” Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore.

Today’s demonstrations

XENIA: Community prayer walk, 10 a.m. Saturday, starting at Xenia Station (Bike Hub), 150 S. Miami Ave.

TROTWOOD: Protest and walk, 11 a.m. starting at Madison Park and marching down East Main Street through Free Pike and ending at John Wolfe Park.

DAYTON: Protest, noon Saturday at Courthouse Square downtown.

XENIA: Protest, noon Saturday at the Greene County Courthouse, 45 N. Detroit St.

MIAMI TWP.: Demonstration and march, noon to 2 p.m. Saturday around Waldruhe Park, 10000 Springboro Pike. The right lane of Ohio 741 north will be closed for safety purposes.

YELLOW SPRINGS: Demonstrations, 1 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Ohio 68 and Limestone Street.

HUBER HEIGHTS: Protest, 5 p.m. Saturday at the NorthPark Shopping Center on Old Troy Pike.