Updated at 10:20 p.m. June 4 with the conclusion of the demonstrations
Protesters packed a Target parking lot and marched through Brentwood and Richmond Heights on Thursday, the day a memorial was held for George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Thousands of people have attended rallies over the past week in the St. Louis region, demanding a stop to police violence against African Americans and mourning the violent death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police. A smaller protest also occurred in Florissant shortly before the demonstration in Brentwood.
More than a thousand people there marched in the humid June evening, filling wide suburban thoroughfares, chanting Floyd’s name through masks and waving signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe.”
“The entire 50 states are protesting. The entire 50 states are resisting. Enough is enough. Today is the memorial for George Floyd, so let us lift him up,” activist Ohun Ashe said on Facebook live footage of the protest.
The protest in the popular shopping area in St. Louis County lasted for three hours. Marchers first headed east to South Hanley Road and soon spread into an empty Walmart parking lot to silently kneel in remembrance of Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he became unresponsive.
Demonstrators then marched north on South Hanley Road and took to westbound ramps north of Highway 40 to South Brentwood Boulevard, where they blocked traffic and wove in between cars.
Before marchers returned to the Target parking lot, Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, climbed up on a pickup truck with a megaphone to address protesters.
“This is what a family looks like, y’all,” Aldridge said. “This is what it means to come together. This is what it means to be nonviolent. This is what it means to be pissed off about the system.”
Organizers informed protesters that the next rally would take place on Saturday and encouraged musicians to attend.
The three Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting the second-degree murder of George Floyd made their first appearances in court on Thursday. Attorneys for two of the officers said they tried to intervene while former officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Hennepin County District Judge Paul Scoggin set bail for each of the three officers at up to $1 million.
People also gathered downtown earlier on Thursday to march with the family of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, who was killed by looters on Monday night.
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