On the same day mourners came together at a Minneapolis memorial service to honor George Floyd, demonstrators in Atlanta gathered Thursday for a seventh day, joining a continued global protest for justice.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms walked with protesters downtown and told the crowd through a megaphone that “there is something better on the other side of this.”
“We are in the midst of a movement in this country,” Bottoms said. “But it’s going to be incumbent upon all of us to be able to get together and articulate more than our anger. We got to be able to articulate what we want as our solutions.”
Police Chief Erika Shields also attended the protest.
When the first night of protests on Friday turned chaotic, an impassioned Bottoms held a news conference and urged the protesters to go home, saying those who were looting and vandalizing businesses were disgracing the city and Floyd’s life.
She told the crowd on Thursday that they “matter” to her, and before she left, she encouraged them to get tested for COVID-19.
Bottoms is under consideration to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, and the protests have become a leadership test for her. Her remarks on Friday were widely praised.
She announced this week that she would establish a commission to look at the city’s use of force policies.
Police refrained from using tear gas for a second straight night to clear protesters from downtown at the 9 p.m. curfew. The Atlanta Police Department announces only six arrests in connection with demonstrations Thursday night.
In Minneapolis, the service for Floyd — the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days — unfolded at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for three fired Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison.