WASHINGTON — A crowd of a couple hundred marched from 14th and U Streets Northwest to the White House Friday evening protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died Monday after being held down under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis. The incident was caught on camera and led to the firing of four police officers.
Chants of "no justice, no peace," "your silence is violence," and "black lives matter," were heard in Lafayette Square as the crowd gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The protest remained mostly peaceful, though WUSA9 reporter John Henry captured crowd reaction after a Secret Service agent tackled a protester to the ground as the crowds moved towards the White House. A large crowd surrounded them as police responded to the scene. Afterward, Henry said he saw another person taken away in police custody, and the White House was placed under lockdown for a little over an hour.
Graffiti was also spraypainted on Freedman’s Bank catacorner to the White House, after the group had first attempted to gain access to the building. Henry described police presence as large, with a mix of Secret Service agents and DC police.
Henry said he witnessed a diverse crowd of mostly younger participants, and described the atmosphere as "incredibly peaceful." He estimated there were 200-300 protesters marching down 14th Street before turning on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The protesters eventually moved towards Capitol Hill and took to the highway, blocking traffic at the 395/695 interchange.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said they are continuing to review the evidence and there may be subsequent charges later.
In Minneapolis, protests have been ongoing nightly since Floyd's death Monday, and the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct building was set on fire Thursday evening. Protests have been widespread across the county throughout the week, with demonstrations in New York City, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado and now D.C.