Local Protesters Join Others Throughout Nation

Hindman Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.
Photo courtesy Kate Hindman
Protesters march peacefully in Montrose on Wednesday in a rally against police brutality and institutional racism following the death of George Floyd, a black man, while he was being arrested in Minneapolis in May.

La Crescenta and Montrose residents made it known this week that they stand with countless others throughout the state, nation and world in calling out the police conduct linked to the deaths of George Floyd and other men and women believed to be targeted for being black.
Some marchers said that the sheer ubiquity of the current movements — which are ongoing in every state of the union and throughout the world — may represent a sea change in public opinion on law enforcement conduct, particularly toward minorities who are overrepresented in myriad criminal justice system statistics.
“This feels super different,” said La Crescenta resident Kate Hindman, who attended the Montrose protest on Wednesday. “I’ve gone to protests in the past, and I’d be so fired up that I basically just wanted to be seen. [The public responses now] are fueling the idea that if we keep going, we’re going to see actual, tangible changes instead of just the abstract ideas of ‘We’re protesting and this is why.’”
Protests erupted last week after video surfaced of Floyd’s arrest on May 25, in which one Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Floyd suffocated, according to an autopsy. Three other officers were shown simply looking on as a crowd of people pleaded for the officer to stop. Although mostly concentrated in major cities at first, they have especially in Los Angeles County trickled down to the various suburbs, including here.
“You think to yourself, ‘I should be there I should be in the thick of it. That’s where the change is happening,’” explained Love Lee, a 20-year-old La Crescenta resident who helped others plan Wednesday’s demonstration. “There’s so much change happening, so you think to yourself ‘What can a protest in La Crescenta do?’ We needed to have this so badly in our community. I would see comments online saying, ‘We don’t need this kind of thing in our community.’ I think those comments show precisely why we needed to bring this here. That in itself is privilege, when you can step back from politics and social activism and not suffer any systematic repercussions or consequences.”
The group, which had anywhere from 100 to 300 participants by various estimations, marched down Honolulu Avenue to Verdugo Boulevard, and down to Montrose Community Park. There, the protesters knelt for an 8-minute-46-second duration and listened to a handful of speakers.
A contingent of officers with the Glendale Police Department remained nearby, according to Sgt. Christian Hauptmann with GPD. Though officers were not escorting or guiding the demonstration, they did move in to pause traffic when people entered the roadways.
“One way or the other, we diverted traffic for them,” Hauptmann said.
However, some of the group felt the outsize presence was unnecessary.
Some of the protesters “were calling for some of the GPD in front of us to take a knee in solidarity,” explained 21-year-old Gwenyth Greco, a La Crescenta native attending Cal State Northridge. “After about 5 or 10 minutes, the protesters clustered closer together and some of the GPD began revving their motorcycles.”
Greco, who was among the organizers of the protest, said a couple of motorcycle officers rode close to the group, in a manner she felt was meant to intimidate.
“I hope it isn’t a reflection of GPD as a whole,” she added. “I don’t know if it was the same officers on the motorbikes, but two officers were sort of brandishing their batons, and members of the crowd were pleading with them to stop and put them away. There were still children in the crowd, and older adults. There were families, parents, not just teenagers.”
Hindman said she agreed.
“It just really clashed with what we were trying to do,” she said. “It just felt a little intense and a little aggressive and a bit of a reminder of where so many of our resources are being spent.”
Hauptmann acknowledged that videos were circulating on social media regarding this instance.
“We’re aware of it and it’s being investigated,” he added.
Lee and other explained that they first met through social media posts about wanting to organize a protest and eventually formed a Discord chat group to plan the event. Planners privately invited friends and family, Lee explained, to avoid attracting the attention of outsiders who might want to escalate the demonstration.
“These are people who are trying to fulfill some fantasy they have about destroying property,” Lee said, referring to rioters and looters from L.A.’s protests, “but the movement itself is trying to push an agenda that is peaceful.”
Being part of a worldwide moment is proving to be surreal, particularly as it seems to be crystallizing into possible policy change, the demonstrators said.
“It’s cool to see that we’re all taking a stand together,” Greco said. “When was the last time all 50 states did something together? This is all across the world. I never thought we’d see something like it.”
Hindman noted that this week, the FBI opened an investigation into the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a black EMT, when Louisville police officers were engaged in a no-knock search warrant on her apartment regarding a drug investigation which had two suspects already in custody.
“I feel like the focus is kind of shifting to her now, so I find myself wondering what’s the next thing after that,” she said.
Nick Zamora, a 19-year-old Crescenta Valley High School graduate, said he, too, is hopeful for continuing progress.
“I was very proud of it, considering that we were able to keep it so peaceful,” he said, speaking on the protest. “I feel like we need to bring our support even though we don’t specifically face the same problem others do. We need to show our support in the community.”

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