Black Lives Matter protest — June 7, 2020

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the Perry County Courthouse lawn in Perryville on Sunday to stage a peaceful protest as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Organized by three Perryville natives, the protest lasted six hours and spawned minimal incidents. Local law enforcement maintained a heavy presence on the square, cautioning a number of aggressive drivers attempting to drown out protesters and made one arrest after an man — who was not part of the protest — began shouting white supremacist slogans, rendering a Nazi salute and kissing a male protester. According to Perryville Police Chief Direk Hunt, the man was processed and released. “It was a very peaceful event,” said Hunt, who spent much of Sunday’s protest on foot patrol with his officers, visiting with both protesters and onlookers. “The protesters got to have their say and other folks got to say what they wanted. We didn’t have any real issues.” Organizer Julia Leinicke said she thought things went "really well." "We did have some counterprotesters there, but the Black Lives Matter protesters stayed strong, kept speaking up for what they believe in." Sunday's protest was the second in four days following the killing of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. Chauvin was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and has since been charged with unintentional second-degree murder, along with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while three other officers who watched as Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes are facing charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. For more on the story, click here. (Republic-Monitor photos by Robert Cox)

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