Great Falls is joining a growing list of communities across the nation where people are rallying following the death of Minnesota man George Floyd during an encounter with police.
Since then, demonstrations have held across the country, often echoing the themes of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” following Monday’s death of Floyd.
On Friday, an event was held in Missoula organized by the University of Montana Black Student Union and is being supported by the UM Pacific Islanders Club. Dozens of people gathered, holding signs and listening to speakers address the rally in downtown Missoula.
A similar protest is planned in Great Falls; it is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 31 along the Central Avenue (1st Avenue North) bridge.
Event organizer Jasmine Cassandra Taylor explained, "The message is we stand in solidarity with black people and people of color in our country. We are in the fight to demand justice for these murders, and black lives matter. We are obligated to stand up when these kinds of murders happen and when justice is not served. If we don't speak out against them, this will keep happening, so we have to do something."
She also says this issue isn't limited to just one town or community: "This is not an issue limited to one city. This is an issue throughout our entire country. Racism is killing innocent black people and people of color all over our country. And if we are silent about it, we're enabling it, and we're letting it continue. This is absolutely the least we can do to try to stop these things from happening again."
She asks that attendees wear masks and social distance during the protest.
Click here to visit the Facebook event page
CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis says that on Monday evening, police said officers were called for a report of someone trying to use a forged document at Cup Foods.
Police initially said Floyd was resisting arrest and had a medical incident. However, video obtained by CBS News shows Floyd cooperating with officers, at least in the initial moments of the encounter.
A bystander’s video showed Floyd pleading that he could not breathe as a police officer — identified as Derek Chauvin — knelt on his neck and kept his knee there for several minutes after Floyd stopped moving and became unresponsive.
On Friday, WCCO reported that Chauvin has been arrested and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter.