More than 100 demonstrators marched across State Line Road Saturday evening as they continued their push for the resignation of Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith and the end of Operation LeGend, a federal deployment of agents to address violent crime.
“We are here not only for social equity but to control the narrative because so many times we are painted as violent protesters, rioters, people destroying property,” Bryce Dickerson told the crowd.
Protesters also want Overland Park Police Department Chief Frank Donchez fired and a policy mandate requiring police officers to display their name and badge at all times. The police department temporarily suspended a similar requirement during a protest last week, citing concerns about doxxing.
Murad Hasam said he came out to protest police brutality and a lack of justice for victims.
“The blinders are off. For Black people in this country — we’ve been enduring this for hundreds of years,” Hasam said.
Saturday’s protest started in Weltner Park with speeches and then the crowd marched along State Line Road. As the evening ended, protesters knelt at the intersection of State Line Road and 85th terrace for eight minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man killed by a former Minneapolis police officer who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for the same length of time, triggering worldwide outrage and ongoing demonstrations around the country.
As protesters knelt on the road, they held their breath and when they couldn’t anymore, they cried out “I can’t breathe.”
Mohammad Abumaria was driving on State Line Road when protesters stopped traffic. He got out of his car and took a knee. Abumaria said moved to the United States five years ago after living in Palestine.
“I used to protest all the time back home and it’s something beautiful to protest for a cause,” he said.
Activists are planning another protest Sunday afternoon in Brookside.
“We are going to continue resisting with everything we have until our reasonable demands are met,” organizer Stacy Shaw told the crowd.