Protesters march against racial violence by the thousands in downtown Riverside

By Erik Galicia 

Thousands filled the streets of downtown Riverside on June 1 to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of a White Minneapolis police officer on Memorial day.

Protesters of all ages and ethnicities chanted “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd is heard saying in the footage of the incident, and “Black Lives Matter” for hours as they marched in memory of all Black people who have been killed by police.

Floyd was asphyxiated over eight minutes and 46 seconds of having Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on the back of his neck. The footage shows two other officers helping pin Floyd to the ground face down as another officer watches.

Riverside has seen demonstrations against police brutality before. Many protesters called for remembrance of Tyisha Miller, a 19 year old Black woman who was shot and killed by police officers at a Riverside gas station in 1998. 

The demonstration began in front of the Riverside Public Library on Mission Inn Avenue and continued around the area. Marchers eventually met face-to-face with Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies in front of the Robert Presley Detention Center on the intersection of Orange and Tenth Streets. 

The protest remained peaceful for the most part and some were seen kneeling with Sheriff Chad Bianco as they discussed the police’s relationship with people of color. Viewpoints reporters noticed new arrivals to the area, dressed in black, as many of the original protesters dispersed after 7 p.m. 

Deputies began enforcing the 6 p.m. curfew at around that time and made some arrests. Some incidents of looting were also reported that night.

A candlelight vigil in honor of Floyd and other victims of racial violence is scheduled for June 4 at 6 p.m. by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial near the intersection of Main and Ninth Streets in Riverside.