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About 150 people rally to support the Black Lives Matter, protest police brutality

TERESA JACKSON/MADRAS PIONEER - Protesters chant the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at a rally in front of Madras City Hall Saturday, June 6. Several said they did not believe police brutality was a problem locally, but they wanted to support the Black Lives Matter movement."Say their names," a young woman yelled into a microphone.

"George Floyd," the crowd yelled back.

"Say their names."

"Breonna Taylor."

Protests sparked by Floyd's death have spread throughout the world, and Saturday evening, about 150 people in Madras joined in.

They marched from the plaza at the north end of Madras to City Hall, standing against racism and police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement Saturday evening.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after he was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Video captured Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers on the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Twenty-six-year-old Taylor died in Louisville, Kentucky, after she was eight times in her apartment during a no-knock warrant March 13. Police suspected her of having drugs because she had received a package for an ex-boyfriend they had arrested. When they raided her apartment in the middle of the night in plain clothes, her boyfriend, a licensed gun owner, shot. Lawyers say he believed he was being robbed.

Though the deaths were far from Jefferson County, local protesters raised their voices, wanting to see change.

"Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the hate," they shouted, waving signs that read "Racism is real," "No Justice, No Peace," "Next Time Vote," and more.

Michelle and Jim Gemelas drove by holding a sign out their sunroof that said, "History is watching us" on one side and "I can't breathe" on the other.

As the protesters made their way along Fifth Street, Madras Police vehicles drove by. At one point, a command vehicle stopped in the intersection at D Street and put on its hazard lights, blocking cross traffic so the marchers could get across safely.

Police continued to drive by during the protest but didn't get out of their vehicles.

"There are certain tactics in training that we deployed as an agency to keep the peace," Chief Tanner Stanfill said.

TERESA JACKSON/MADRAS PIONEER - Kayla Goodman, left, stands with her husband, Chris Goodman, who holds their daughter, AnnaLynn, on his shoulders at a protest in Madras Saturday, June 6.Four-year-old AnnaLynn Goodman held a sign that said, "Please don't shoot my daddy."

Her parents, Chris and Kayla Goodman, moved to Madras in 2016.

Chris is black, and Kayla is white.

"I think it's really amazing to have all these people fighting for one cause," Chris said. "It's not just an African American problem. It's a people problem."

His goal: "I just hope I see less ignorance."

"Equality," Kayla added.

Chris said there aren't that many black people in Madras, so seeing a large crowd standing up was encouraging.

"It's about police brutality," he said.

But not local police brutality.

"Oh, no, "he said. "The sheriff and the police officers are amazing."

He said they have gone out of their way to make him feel welcome.

TERESA JACKSON/MADRAS PIONEER - Protesters lay on the sidewalk in front of Madras City Hall Saturday, June 6, chanting, 'I can't breathe.'Madras resident Michelle Figueroa, 24, wants to see police held accountable.

"I think it's important for town officials ... to know the community wants change," she said, adding that the community is lucky that it's small enough that people know each other.

She doesn't think local police are the problem.

But the issue is important, even if it's not happening here, she said.

Stanfill said policing in urban areas is different than it is in Madras.

"We not only police this community, but we're a part of this community," he said.

Sallie Adams, of Warm Springs, was protesting for her children, including 10-year-old Derise, who held a sign that said, "I'm still young, let me grow into a man. My life matters!"

Adams said she was "teaching my kids about being seen and being heard and not being afraid of who they are and embracing culture."

She paused. "And that not all protests in riots," she said.

She told her son that not all protests are bad, and she wanted him to experience history in the making.

Several Warm Springs tribal members marched. One held a sign that said, "Natives stand with BLM."

Roberta Kirk brought her two granddaughters, who were 11 and 19 years old.

"We wanted to support the voices here in Central Oregon," she said.

She was happy to see the demonstration here, she said, and she wanted to support Floyd and other victims.

"I know that not all cops are bad," she said. Her father was a police officer.

She's glad the officers involved in Floyd's death are being held accountable.

Elizabeth Dreyer didn't know about the protest. She was driving and wanted to show her support, she said.

"I've never been to a protest before," she said. "It's frickin' horrible what's happening right now."

Brenda Lebegen learned of the protest in a text message.

"It's worldwide," she said. "It's just awesome the support we're getting. We need to reclaim our country and our flag."


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