8:32 PM – The crowd trickles in the streets as the rally ends. A scream echoes, ricocheting in alleyways and reaches the city hall steps.
It goes quiet.
Moments later on Church street, chants could be heard a little louder. Three people holding signs walk onto Market Street, their voices in unison. The trio makes their way down Market, their broadcast getting quieter and quieter with distance.
Suddenly, the streets are eerily calm. No protestors are in sight. Police officers relax behind their squad car drinking coffee and conversing.
A rumbling thunder is heard a mile away. It gets louder.
“No justice! No peace!”
A wave of protestors turn the block with an invigorating spirit, screaming with passion and pain together. The streets fill again, with raised fists and one voice like an ancestor’s call. Police scurry in their police cars to make way.
An electrifying energy was in the air.
Thousands gathered on Friday to peacefully protest national police brutality in honor of the most recent police-related killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Decorated signs and ponchos filled Baker Park as political officials, young activists, and artists performed. Wet and strong-willed, Frederick residents and beyond made the march a successful and monumental turnout.
Police Response to Protests
7:52 PM – Protestors walk home on Bentz Street. An officer bikes down the hill towards the four-way intersection. He sets his bike in the middle of the street and begins redirecting traffic.
“Why are you blocking off the street?”
“Because there’s people in the street,” he shrugs.
Frederick Police Department made its city and residents proud. Officers were actively present in downtown but in neutral stance. They remained protective of the protestors throughout the day by following and monitoring the path of marchers, shutting down streets in real-time, and not taking away from the day’s purpose.
Businesses Reactions to Protests
Downtown business owners decided to send their own messages in response to the protest. Some businesses posted Black Lives Matters signs and quotes while others boarded up their windows and doors. One business hired security to guard its storefront. Another installed metal fencing along with an armed patrolman. Residents are still trying to decipher its meaning.
Online discussions began shortly after the protest about various reasons business owners would board up their stores. Businesses like Black Hog, Cole’s Pawnbroker Outlet, and Krispy Kuts were outed for their seemingly clear opposition towards the movement. Some came to the defense of the businesses, citing landlord restrictions and insurance expenses as justification; others viewed it as a silent rejection to the cause.
There is an energy one cannot describe in the midst of a protest. It is deep and aching. It is reawakening and fearless.
Across the nation, Americans are fighting the good fight. Many have been jailed and brutalized while on the front lines advocating for justice. Americans prove fearless in the eye of the storm, hopeful that justice will prevail. In Frederick, the sentiment remains.
OUT40 stands with you, Frederick. Black Lives Matter.