Protests near the Old Courthouse in Inverness Friday who were upset over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer remained peaceful throughout the entire demonstration.
No one blocked traffic, threw bottles, or damaged property.
Members of the Citadel of Life Cathedral church organized the event.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said deputies maintained their presence to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance.
Olivia Collins said, “It would have been nice if deputies would have joined the protest and had a conversation instead of standing like statues. I am glad that nothing happened though and there was no trouble because it greatly concerns me that CCSO does not require their public servants to wear body cams or keep dash cams in their cars.”
Collins’ friend, Bobby White, said, “I agree with Olivia. I am friends of a family who was seriously injured during a chase involving CCSO deputies and a suspect who had drove off. There was no video, none, during court. That is not acceptable in this day and age.”
Lindsay P. said, “While there are good officers, there are just as many bad ones who go unchecked. Police need to remember…they should fear the people, the people should not fear the government. I also am tired of the argument that if you are against police then call a crack head. Unless the police are at your door every night, then it is our job to protect ourselves. Too many people are being killed, especially blacks.” She went on to say, “Too many officers of the law are getting away with brutality, planting evidence, and violating our rights in general.”
Some protesters told stories of how they have seen deputies profile blacks simply because of skin color.
Brian Johnson, who is white, said, “A few months back I was driving through Crystal River with my friend and I was pulled over for my music. Which by the way, according to the Supreme Court, is no longer allowed. During the stop, the deputy asked my friend for his ID…he was the passenger. Then he was asked to step out of the vehicle. They harassed him and said he looked like a suspect they had seen the day before. The problem with that lie is that my friend does not live in Crystal River. He came from out of town to go fishing with me down Ozello Trail.” He added, “I completely feel like my friend, who has never been arrested in his life, was harassed and embarrassed because he was black. It is that simple.”
Sheriff Prendergast said, “Peaceful demonstration is a constitutional right for all Americans. Today was a great example of our community’s willingness to engage in a productive exchange without violence.”
The CCSO said there were no arrests during the event.