CLEARFIELD, Pa. (WTAJ)–Friday, beginning at 3:00 p.m. protesters gathered outside the Clearfield County Courthouse for a rally–where they showed and voiced opposition to 46-year-old George Floyd’s death.
The protest remained peaceful, with about 100 participants at the rally’s peak. The protesters did not march through town, instead they stood still and held up signs on the courthouse steps. The signs aimed to pass along a message of disapproval with the actions of both the officer that killed Floyd, and the other officers who watched.
Protesters WTAJ spoke with said they feel it’s important to protest–not just in larger cities like Altoona, State College, and Pittsburgh– but in smaller communities too (like Clearfield) because the message of the protests is sometimes lost in more rural areas.
“I think it’s good to bring it to everyone’s attention, being here, we’re a very small town, I think we’ve got to wake up to some things being done in bigger cities that we’re totally unaware of. We know our police by their first name half the time…it’s unfortunate we don’t see what’s going on in the city, so I’m hoping this will help. It can’t hurt to bring attention to it… as long as it’s positive attention and doing it the right way,” Chrys Leonard, a protester, said.
She added: “I feel bad for the family that lost a loved one, what was done to him was wrong. I also feel bad for police because they’re all not bad, and we’ve got to have respect for everybody, it’s not my color that determines the level of respect I receive.”
As word of Friday’s protest spread through the area (before it began), so did many rumors that the protests would turn violent with some looting shops. However, no such acts occurred.
Some in the community did gather across the street from the protesters to observe what was occurring. “Tank” Cutler said he and others were there to ensure the safety of both the protesters and others in the community.
“I’m proud of these people, there is a lot of racial division in our town… there is a lot of racial misconception in this area. These guys are practicing their First Amendment right… their voices need to be heard,” he said.
Throughout a humid Friday evening, locals helped supply water to the protesters to ensure everyone was properly hydrated.