Protesters Take to Akron's Streets Again to Call for an End to Racism and Police Brutality

Jun 7, 2020

The protests over the killing of George Floyd continued in downtown Akron today. Several groups held events calling for an end to racism and police brutality.

This story had been updated. It was originally published on June 6th.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan (center) took a knee in a show of solidarity during Saturday's protests. He was joined by Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Charles Brown.
Credit MARK AREHART / WKSU

A Black Lives Matter march began at noon at the Akron-Summit County Public Library downtown, continued for several blocks, then stopped as organizers asked Mayor Dan Horrigan to take a knee as a show of solidarity. The march then continued to the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center, where police officers posted outside were also asked to take a knee by the march’s organizers. After being given permission by Chief Kenneth Ball, most of the officers did.

During and after last weekend’s protests, curfews wre issued in Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. Akron was the largest city in Ohio not to issue a curfew.

Protester Cealneeka Miller from Akron says she believes the events in her city have been peaceful because 

Activist and co-organizer Prophecy Dorsey tried to invite Akron Police officers to take a knee in solidarity during Saturday's Black Lives Matter march. Later, some officers did take a knee at the Stubbs Justice Center.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

organizers have notified city officials about what they’ll be doing. Akron Police spokesman Lt. Michael Miller attributes it to good relations between law enforcement and the public.

Later in the day, at Second Baptist Church, Pastor Roderick C. Pounds held a "Peaceful but Powerful" rally to give community members an opportunity to share their perspective.

In the late afternoon, the Summit County Black Elected Officials marked a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd. Members of Summit County Council, Akron City Council, and Mayor Horrigan attended the event at the historic Hotel Matthews monument.

It closed with 8:46 of reflection – the same amount of time now-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd’s neck.  Akron Police Chief Kenneth Ball was among the speakers at the Hotel Matthews, and said the video of Floyd's death was 'horrifying.'

The Black Lives Matter march began at the library and wound through downtown streets for several hours. Other protest events followed in the afternoon.
Credit MARK AREHART / WKSU

Both Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville were also there, and said they expect to pass legislation soon that will declare racism a public health crisis. State Rep. Emilia Sykes said she'd been called a "bully" by some of her statehouse colleagues for suggesting they consider similar legislation.