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Scores in downtown Cedar Rapids protest police brutality

After march, demonstrators amass at police headquarters

Activist Ray Walker of Cedar Rapids speaks to a crowd of hundreds gathered to protest the death of George Floyd during a
Activist Ray Walker of Cedar Rapids speaks to a crowd of hundreds gathered to protest the death of George Floyd during a rally at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Floyd was a black Minnesota man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. One officer, who was recorded kneeling on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with third degree manslaughter. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Scores of people decrying police brutality and citing unity with George Floyd marched Sunday afternoon through downtown, protesting at the Linn County Courthouse before embarking on a route that ended up outside — and for some, of the roof of — the Cedar Rapids Police Department’s headquarters.

Though some in the crowd made threats of violence, others quashed such talk and by Sunday evening the protest remained loud but peaceful. Police blocked traffic as the crowd spilled into the street, essentially escorting the protesters on their route. There were no obvious signs of confrontation.

At the police station, protesters amassed on the steps and some managed somehow to climb to the roof.

Earlier in the day, police posted on Facebook that the department was aware of rumors threatening damage to the Lindale Mall.

The mall, which is open under eased coronavirus restrictions, decided to close early Sunday, police said, and the department said that “officers were in the area.”

Some restaurants remained open, however, and a handful of people were seen coming and going from them around dinnertime.

“We are appreciative of the many individuals, including those currently participating in a peaceful protest in front of the Linn County Courthouse, who have contacted the Police Department and who have said that individuals who want to cause disturbances and/or damage do not represent their protest,” the department said on Facebook as Sunday’s protest was underway.

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Last Thursday, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman expressed alarm over the death of Floyd, 46, a black man, while he was in custody Monday of Minneapolis police. A Minneapolis officer has been charged with his killing, which was captured on video and widely viewed online and on television.

“The video footage that I have seen is disturbing and is inconsistent with both training and protocols of a law enforcement officer,” Jerman said in a statement.

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