The Pasadena Branch of the NAACP, the National Association of Day Laborers (NDLON), along with faith leaders from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA and the Community Clergy Coalition (CCC), will hold a peaceful vigil in honor of George Floyd at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2 at First AME Church, 1700 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.
The groups plan to convene and caravan in vehicles through the streets of Pasadena, practicing physical distancing, to Pasadena City Hall, where speakers from each group will discuss healing and action for change.
Floyd’s death has once again sparked concerns about acts of violence and use of force by white police officers against African Americans.
“We the people, the poor and marginalized in this country have a single line of defense left and that’s our numbers,” said Danielle Ross. “We’ve peacefully appealed to your humanity. We’ve protested and reasoned for 150 years. It’s been long enough. Now, we demand our birthright.”
Floyd, who was African American, was killed on May 25 in Powderhorn, Minnesota during an encounter with police. Police placed a knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes during the arrest, despite pleas by the 46-year old father of two that he could not breathe.
During the encounter, a desperate and dying Floyd begged for his life.
“Don’t kill me,” and “Please, the knee in my neck,” “I can’t breathe.”
Bystanders pleaded to police, but they did not respond. At least one witness said the police were “enjoying that” during the incident.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested on Friday and has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
So far, three additional officers present at the scene have not been arrested.
Since Floyd’s death, peaceful protests and unrest has broken out across the country.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday night, May 30, for Los Angeles County.
“To those who seek to exploit Californians’ pain to sow chaos and destruction, you are not welcome. Our state and nation must build from this moment united and more resolved than ever to address racism and its root causes,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.
So far there have been no violent protests in Pasadena.
A group did meet Saturday night, but the event was peaceful.
City Manager Steve Mermell declared a local emergency and placed an 8 p.m. curfew in effect.
“On behalf of the City Council, I support this proactive but necessary decision out of an abundance of caution for our communit,” said Mayor Terry Tornek. “We thank our residents and businesses for their patience and please stay tuned to official city announcements and news media for any updates” – Mayor Terry Tornek.”
A rally was also scheduled for La Pintoresca Park at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 1.
“For all of us, we see that that video and its disturbing for us. The techniques used in that incident are not at all consistent with, our training,” said Police Chief John Perez. “It wasn’t in line with what we are teaching our officers when they get into situations like that. The measurement for us is the deescalation, the communication techniques, the, the immersive training that we provide for our people.”
Although crime is up locally, use of force has declined by 50 percent, according to Perez.
“Now is the time to be conscience guided,” said Councilman John Kennedy. “This is the moment for ALL — regardless of ethnicity or income — to join forces to forge a better nation of better communities. We have an opportunity, if not a responsibility, to transform this tragedy into something positive… greater understanding. greater hope and a greater nation…for all of us.”
Contact the NAACP office at (626) 793-1293 or NDLON (626) 799-3566 for more information.