More than two dozen Moreno Valley residents held a short rally Monday night, June 1, protesting the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd and other killings by police of other black and Latino people.
“We’re frustrated and were tired of it. We’re absolutely fed up,” Moreno Valley City Council member Carla Thornton told the small crowd assembled at Celebration Park.
Floyd died May 25, after Minneapolis police arrested and handcuffed him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a deli. Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, while Floyd protested that he could not breathe and, eventually, lost consciousness. Chauvin has been fired from the police department and, on May 29, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Monday’s rally was the second day in a row that Moreno Valley residents gathered to speak out about Floyd’s death. On Sunday, May 31, about 200 people marched down Day Street to Moreno Valley City Hall, chanting “no justice, no peace” and protesting police brutality.
Part of the problem, Thornton said, is the lack of minorities in power in Riverside County.
“We cannot afford any longer to not have a seat at the table,” said Thornton, the city’s first African-American councilwoman.
The Celebration Park rally, which lasted less than 30 minutes, began and ended with prayer. There were also nine minutes of silence to remember the more than eight minutes Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck.
The rally had a hard time limit on it: Riverside County declared a 6 p.m. curfew for the entire county on Monday, pointing to a weekend of “rioting and looting.” Protests broke out around the country this weekend. During daylight hours, the protests were largely non-violent. But in Southern California and elsewhere, things turned violent after dark. The Waterman Mall in San Bernardino was looted on Sunday, as was the Hemet Valley Mall.
At Monday’s peaceful protest in Moreno Valley, that approach was called the wrong one.
“We’re not here to condemn them,” said rally organizer Brandon Mosely, an elder at the House of Destiny Deliverance Center in Moreno Valley. “We’re here to say that there is a better way.”
Anger about the death of Floyd and other black people killed by police officers should be harnessed to press for accountability and change, he said. Rally organizers intend to do just that Friday, with a march from Community Park to Moreno Valley City Hall to call for more transparency and oversight over investigations into police misconduct.