SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – The emotions were raw during a protest in Sharon Sunday. Protesters grieved for family members, they screamed of injustices at the hands of police, one woman even hugged an officer who was standing watch.
It started at 1 p.m. as a small group walked from the Community Library of the Shenango Valley, holding signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe.”
The group then continued across the bridge past The Winner as police blocked off the area. They stopped in front of the Sharon Municipal Building, where more people arrived to stand by and watch, even share their own stories as the crowd continued to grow.
Some protesters laid on the ground. Others took turns speaking about racial injustices, particularly involving police.
Though the protesters were primarily younger adults, there were people of all ages, including children, and races in attendance.
The assembly comes among a series of protests across the country, including in Youngstown, protesting racial injustice and police brutality. Protesters are demanding change after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody.
The officer involved in Floyd’s arrest, who can be seen in video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before Floyd passed out and died, was arrested on charges related to the death as the public outcry grew.
One protester in Sharon, who was particularly upset about treatment by police, called on the group to act out, even if that meant violence. He said peaceful protests don’t help the situation.
But most of those in attendance seemed to encourage peace. One woman spoke of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and led the group in a prayer.
“As long as there’s a God, there’s still hope,” she said.
Another protester asked the police officers standing by what they thought of Floyd’s arrest and death. They responded that they don’t support that.
Some of those in attendance then continued marching through the city, down the Shenango Valley Freeway, as police officers followed behind them in their cruisers.