About 50 people gathered at Claiborne and Esplanade avenues in New Orleans late Friday morning to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and police violence toward black people around the country.
As of noon, the protest was growing and ongoing.
Organizers with Southern Solidarity — a group that has also recently rallied to feed people in need during the coronavirus pandemic — made speeches and lead chants of "no justice, no peace, no racist police" and "we have nothing to lose but our chains." Drivers honked their horns as they passed through the intersection, some raising fists out of their windows in solidarity.
In the hour New Orleans Public Radio spent at the protest, there was no police presence except for one office who passed through on a motorcycle with its lights on.
Just as the protest was beginning around 10 a.m., the New Orleans Police Department tweeted, "The NOPD does not condone what Minneapolis police officers did - and did not do which led to the death of Mr. George Floyd. NOPD officers are encouraged to use methods to prevent their own from participating in police misconduct."
And just before 1 p.m., the City of New Orleans released a statement from Criminal Justice Commissioner Tenisha Stevens on the killing of George Floyd:
As we continue to process the in-custody death of Mr. George Floyd, I am sickened by the actions and inactions of the four former officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. I watched this video in its entirety and was overcome with a battery of emotion — disgust, frustration, confusion, anger, and pity to name a few. Our New Orleans Police Department officers take an oath to preserve the constitutional rights of every citizen, but that was not afforded to Mr. Floyd. The officers from Minneapolis not only violated Mr. Floyd's constitutional rights, but also his basic human rights that come with being a citizen of the United States of America.
As Criminal Justice Commissioner of the City of New Orleans, I vow to you actions and negligence such as this WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
You can read the full letter here.