WATERTOWN — More than 100 people rallied at Thompson Park on Saturday afternoon to show support for a nationwide protest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And unlike riots and looting in Minneapolis, Detroit and other cities, the north country residents kept their pledge of peace as they shed light on police brutality.

Gené S. Robinson, Watertown, organized Saturday’s event. She said she has continued to see headlines about police brutality, with the latest case involving the death of Mr. Floyd.

“I want to make this as peaceful as possible,” she said, “especially considering everything that’s going on.”

And it was. More than 100 people gathered — nearly all wearing masks and many holding signs saying “I Can’t Breathe or Black Lives Matter — around the monument at the park. Ms. Robinson spoke briefly thanking people for the turnout and saying the cause is to peacefully shed light on police brutality, and to remember Mr. Floyd, who was killed after a police officer pinned him down by the neck for several minutes on May 25.

An attendee puts their fist in the air while participating in a Rally for Change drive through downtown Watertown on Saturday. Emil Lippe/Watertown Daily Times

Mr. Floyd, who was black, died after Derek Chauvin, a white and now former Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, with two minutes and 53 seconds occurring after Mr. Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint. Mr. Chauvin, who was fired, was arrested May 29 and charged in connection to the death. Three other officers who stood by have also been fired.

Following the car march, about 30 people gathered peacefully in Public Square to continue the protest over Mr. Floyd’s death. Cars driving through the square honked their horns and protesters chanted things like “Say his name! George Floyd!” and “No justice, no peace!”

Christine and Charles Warren drove from Hammond to attend the Watertown event. Ms. Warren said she has 11 grandchildren, and doesn’t usually participate in public rallies. Instead she uses her voice through her vote, she said. But on Saturday she said to sit and do nothing was not an option.

“I don’t promote what’s happening in Minneapolis as far as violence,” Ms. Warren said. “But at the same time, people are fed up and the injustice has to stop.”

Josh Ballenger, Watertown, was there as well. He was holding a sign saying “Convict all 4 Cops 1st Degree Murder,” referring to the officers who were involved in the Mr. Floyd incident.

“I feel the stuff they’re doing is what they have to do to get their attention,” Mr. Ballenger said of the protesters in Minneapolis. “Sometimes you just have to take action.”

Valerie LaClair was there, too.

“It’s been just so horrific and upsetting to just see everything about it,” she said, “that if you’re involved with something, anything that brings attention to it, it’s good.”

Ms. Robinson organized the event thinking five or 10 people would show. But she had to change the location from Sam’s Club to Thompson Park after the outreach from people wanting to join grew.

Ms. Robinson is biracial and her husband is African American. She said the frequency of which police brutality occurs has made her husband almost desensitized to it.

A group of protesters hold fists in the air and show signs during a peaceful protest in Watertown’s Public Square in response to the death of George Floyd. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

“It’s just normal to him,” she said. “He has become unaffected by it, and I feel defeated.”

They have a 1-year-old son. She said her job as a mother is to do everything she can and use every resource available to make him a productive member of the community, yet the concern of what could happen to him lingers in her mind.

“This is the world that my son has to grow up in,” she said. “And that’s not fair.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(12) comments

Holmes -- the real one

And anticipating the inevitable fake "Holmes" conspiracy theory post:

Right-Wing Conspiracists Pull From Old Playbook: Blame George Soros For Riots


George Soros and the Demonization of Philanthropy - Conspiracy theories about him obscure the real concerns about how large-scale giving works today.


List of projects supported by George Soros



If your answer to the Black Lives Matter movement is all lives matter then you are ignorant of what the BLM movement is all about. The bigotry of a few is putting the lives of citizens and LEOs in danger. This nonsense has to stop and LEOs need to be vetted better and swift, stern action needs to be rendered against those who cross the line. NO, I don't condone the violence that follows but it is easy to see why eventually there seems to be no other avenue left for those who feel aggrieved.


Billionaire investor George Soros has donated millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter through his Open Society Foundation, according to the Washington Times. Not ‘ignorant’ just the fact... Bottom line, these riots are the direct result of democrat governance and BLM being hijacked...

hermit thrush

these riots are the direct result of racism and police brutality.

Holmes -- the real one

Whoa, fake "Holmes" have we ever got your number! (your handlers can look that up under American colloquial expressions)

Many of us here, including myself, absolutely believe that Black Lives Matter. Rockloper discusses that very issue.

And here is a little addition to your comment. There are an incredible number of outside agitators out there in Minneapolis -- apparently with far right leanings. Guess who is the darling of the fascist wing of Republicans?

Far-Right Infiltrators and Agitators in George Floyd Protests: Indicators of White Supremacists


Outsiders, extremists are among those fomenting violence in Twin Cities


The Koch family’s N**azi ties are more entrenched than you thinkA long association with Holocaust deniers is even uglier than their Third Reich connections


Ch. 3: Koch Family - An Unbroken Lineage of White Supremacy

http://www.unkochmycampus.org/los-ch3-part-1-n**azi-sympathies-of-the-koch-familyInside the conservative network backing the anti-quarantine ...

Who’s Behind the ‘Reopen’ Protests? They are anything but spontaneous.


keyser soze

So after 50 years of increased racial inequality ripped open by the explosive modern day lynching of black Americans, the convergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, massive unemployment, the inflammatory racist rhetoric of Donald Trump and his always supportive White Supremacist base… and all Counterfeit Holmes can cough up is some rubbish about “George Soros has donated millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter” like that’s a bad thing?

In his feeble attempt to mislead or distract from the more relevant and important question as to why we have reached this point in our nation in the first place, Counterfeit Holmes has foolishly invoked the name of a RW boogey man while conveniently leaving out the Koch brothers contributions to right wing groups whose sole intent is to enact policies that undermine the environment, education, campaign finance, and labor rights. All of which, have an unfavorable outcome on the lives of minorities and America as a whole.

Unfortunately, what the Counterfeit Holmes’ of the world fail to recognize is we are currently reaping the whirlwind of the dire prediction of the 1968 Kerner Report issued after the last nation-wide riots resulting from the assassination of Martin Luther King...

It said: “…our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal.”

That day has arrived.

One of the primary qualifications for being a conservative is that you deny facts and you try to choose evidence that leads to your desired conclusion.

People like Mr. Counterfeit Holmes are the problem and NOT the solution.

Holmes -- the real one


Well said!


I'm proud of George Soros!


Looks like an excellent organization to be donating money to.


Holmes -- the real one

Sure is --

And such a stark contrast between that and the organizations Koch supports.


I was there in a very mixed crowd. It was great to see such a good turn out. Black and White people see the injustice and I thank her for organizing this to help is vent our anger and desire justice for everyone. Black Lives Matter is a thing because black people traditionally have suffered more in police custody, have a higher rate if imprisonment and are even dying at a higher rate from corona virus. We all need to call for justice everywhere and every time.



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