TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Ken Greene may be older than most of the protesters at Sunday afternoon’s march in Downtown Tampa.
“My family was told do not go to that side of town by the Klan,” he said while addressing the crowd.
Greene, 61, told 8 On Your Side his “generation just hasn’t gotten it done,” but he said he feels “cautionary, but hopeful” about the new generation that’s fighting for justice and equality for all.
“For me at my age to be out here to support this cause among 20s and 30s says it’s encouraging that they’re out here doing what’s really in their heart to do,” Greene said.
The message during the “Drop the Charges” protest and march from the Hillsborough County courthouse to Tampa Police Headquarters and back was directed at State Attorney Andrew Warren.
“Until the charges are dropped, we’ll keep marching,” said Bill Aiman from the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.
On the night of June 2, Tampa Police say they declared an unlawful assembly after some during a protest began destroying property and targeting officers.
Aiman said he’s friends with one of the 68 protesters arrested and charged that night with unlawful assembly.
“It demonstrates a trend of the criminalization of protest and infringing on people’s First Amendment rights,” Aiman told 8 On Your Side.
On Sunday afternoon, they also chanted the name of Rayshard Brooks. Atlanta police shot and killed the 27-year-old black man on Friday night.
It’s another name Greene can add to the list he’s seen over the years.
“People have seen brutality and violence for way too long,” he said.
But Greene doesn’t want the younger demonstrators to be discouraged.
“I understand there are unions and I understand there are limitations to what you can do,” Greene said. “But at the same time, they are servants of the public and hired to serve and protect the public. And so until there is balance and consistency there, we’re going to see problems, but hopefully, this generation can get them solved.”
The state attorney’s office provided this statement to 8 On Your Side about the status of cases from TPD’s mass arrest on June 2.
“Peaceful protests are vital to our democracy—they provide an outlet for anger and frustration, as well as inspire change.
For protestors who were arrested for unlawful assembly the night of June 2, our office worked to get them out of jail as quickly as possible, which is consistent with our office’s policy for non-violent misdemeanors.
We are still awaiting some pieces of information regarding the arrests from June 2, and it would be improper for us to decide how we are handling any case before we have reviewed all the relevant facts.”