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Hundreds march for George Floyd in Waterloo

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Three young boys took center stage Friday as speakers talked about saving the next generation of Black children.

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Community members in Waterloo came together to mourn the death of George Floyd and demand justice for his accused killer Friday night.

"When you're worried about things like this, it feels like you're alone," Abby Fliehler said, one of about 500 protesters downtown on Friday. "And when you come to stuff like this, it feels like you're a part of something bigger."

George Floyd was killed on Monday in Minneapolis by police officers who claimed he was "resisting arrest" after deli clerks accused him of using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, the man who knelt on Floyd's neck until he died, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter Friday.

Protesters were chanting "Black lives matter," "No justice, no peace," "hands up don't shoot" and more. They called it a peaceful protest and only marched and spoke.

"If you're silent in oppression, you're saying it's okay. So, any time you can join with people in your community, it helps," Fliehler said.

Waterloo police officers helped block off streets for the march, which started at Veteran's Memorial Park and ended at Lincoln Park. Incoming police chief Joel Fitzgerald, who will be sworn in Monday, spoke to protesters in Lincoln Park.

"You do have to build trust, you have to give the community a chance to share their feelings," Fitzgerald said. "And we have to admit as an industry, we don't always get it right."

Fitzgerald says he wants Waterloo police to be viewed as "protectors of the community" and not "an occupying force". Fitzgerald did say he thought what Derek Chauvin did was very wrong.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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