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Hundreds Of Demonstrators Gather In Portland Following The Killing Of George Floyd

Hundreds of Mainers protested the death of George Floyd on Friday. Floyd, a black man from Minnesota, died while in police custody Monday, and his home state has since been embroiled in rioting.

Earlier in the day, Portland Police Chief Frank Clark and officials in the department’s unions issued an open letter to the community regarding Floyd’s death — that they were waiting for “answers and justice.” The letter came before murder charges were filed against former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man filmed pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee.

The letter also reassured people that departmental policies and procedures would prevent a similar tragedy in Maine’s largest city. But that didn’t keep protesters from gathering at Monument Square to voice their frustration.

April, a black woman who wished only to be identified by her first name, says similar incidents could happen here. Joined by her family, she says she has seen police in Maine brush off racist incidents in the past.

“I’ve had my tires slashed, I’ve been called the N-word while I’m taking care of these little children here,” she says.

After assembling, protesters marched to City Hall before continuing on to police headquarters on Middle Street. There, student Loyde Vumpa says Floyd’s death part is of a deeper social issue.

“I want people to know that racism isn’t getting worse, It’s just being filmed,” she says.

Outside the police department, the group chanted and voiced solidarity with other protesters around the country before dispersing into the city.

Originally published 5:22 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2020/Updated 3:34 p.m. May 31, 2020