SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Locally, demonstrators in Springfield came out to protest the death of George Floyd.

The protesters stood there for more than two hours, demonstrating - to the point where the roads were blocked off around the police station.

Their demand - that what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis - not happen in Springfield.

Protesters carrying signs, chanting in front of the Springfield Police Department.

"We’re supposed to be staying at home so we can stay alive and the people who are supposed to protect us are killing us," said Springfield resident Justin Cotton.

These residents are protesting the death of George Floyd, who died in an interaction with a Minneapolis police officer.

The officer, who has now been arrested, was recorded putting a knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes.

As protests flare-up in the Midwestern city, local protesters explained why holding a demonstration in Springfield is important.

"She needs to understand that she is lives in a system, she’s growing up in a system that’s not for her...to explain to her that when things are not right you speak up about it," said Springfield demonstrator Zulmalee Rivera.

Protesters were chanting for change, and in the release for the demonstration, they demanded Springfield police review their use of force policy.

"It’s like we’re fighting a war that we don’t know about and it makes you question like if I get stopped by the police like, should I stop or should I just keep going because I probably have a better chance of living running from them than to comply," Zulmalee said.

In the last hour, the Springfield Police Department sent Western Mass News a statement on the protest, saying quote:

"The protest went as well as it could have, the protesters got their point across, there were no arrests and no damage as our police officers acted professionally as well. What I’d like people to understand is that [many] police officers are frustrated too when incidents like this halfway across the country happen..."

Western Mass News spoke with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for his perspective on the protest and the scene unfolding in Minneapolis.

"That was wrong and justice needs to be served in that situation and I think that you have to be proactive," Sarno said.

Sarno told us the use of force should be considered a last resort among his officers.

"That is the last thing - the last thing is he or she, our brave and dedicated police officer’s arsenal to do when they’re trying to protect residents’ lives," Sarno said.

Congressman Richard Neal, also weighing in on what he said needs to change.

"Building better community relations and better understanding would go along way toward, I think, having the police exercise their proper responsible role and at the same time, understanding that the civil rights and civil liberties of people based upon skin color cannot be violated," Neal explained.

Local protesters said Floyd's death resonates - from Minneapolis to Massachusetts.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.