CASPER, Wyo. — Pastor Stephen Latham, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People‘s Cheyenne chapter said on Monday, June 1 that over 125 people turned out to a rally and light vigil at the Wyoming Capitol on Friday to protest the killing of George Floyd.
“Powerful night at the Capitol,” Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr said on Facebook. “So many showed up, spoke out, and cast light into the darkness.”
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to the Associated Press.
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Latham said that the Cheyenne protest was co-sponsored by the NAACP and Wyoming Equality and featured several people speaking. He added that the protest remained peaceful.
“Any protests we participate in as NAACP are going to be peaceful,” Latham said.
Latham said protesters are highlighting the need for police reform across the country.
“We continue to have black Americans killed constantly,” he said, adding that he thinks protests should continue “until there is a change.”
While the NAACP is calling for change, Latham said that people can get involved via other organizations or by protesting as individuals as well.
“I would say to people to get out and get involved,” he said. “Go ahead and do something, protest in a peaceful manner. Talk to your police chiefs and see what kind of reform do they have. What are they doing?”
Latham said that Floyd’s death highlights the need for better training of police officers. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, as The Atlantic reports.
“[Floyd] was not fighting or anything like that,” Latham says. “If there is no struggle, [the police response] needs to be de-escalated.”
Latham encouraged people to join marches or write their senators and representatives to call for the need for change. He said that racism is systemic and that “there needs to be a sweeping reform done throughout.”