MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Day three of protests continued at the Courthouse Square in Morgantown on Thursday, hundreds showed up for the peaceful protests in unity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“West Virginia is starting a peaceful movement right now, I truly, truly believe we are a marker for what is possible when it comes to protests, what’s possible when it comes to police reform and what’s possible when it comes to community engagement,” explained Sammantha Norris, Solidarity for Equality and Compassion Cofounder.
Protesters marched up and down High Street, Spruce Street and Walnut Street to both the Morgantown Police Department and the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department shouting phrases like, “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” and protesters said this movement isn’t going away anytime soon.
“Every day at 5:30 p.m. there are people in this courtyard, kneeling down, taking those ten minutes of silence to think about what’s going on,” said Norris.
Following the death of George Floyd and the public outcry for police reform, the Morgantown Police Department released a statement reassuring the community that their officers are held to a high standard. The MPD participates in annual training that includes de-escalating and anti-bias training as well as the use of body-cams with footage being checked regularly at random.
“I want our police department to be an example of what police departments should be,” stated Norris. “They should be community building, a place of safety and hope, and that’s what ours has showed us to be,” continued Norris. “They care about us and because of that, we’re going to keep saying they’re doing good work until they prove otherwise and I don’t think they’re going to prove otherwise.”
Solidarity for Equality and Compassion will be holding a rally at the Mountainlair on Saturday June, 6, at 3 p.m. that will include live music, marches and a candlelight vigil to honor those who lost their lives to police brutality.