Riverview protest focuses on message not violence

Local News

RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) – Things ended peacefully in Riverview, but that does not mean they were quiet. Hundreds of people had a strong message to share and they were not going to let anyone distract from what they had to say.

By early evening hundreds of people held signs and yelled loudly the name of George Floyd. The crowd came together after word spread earlier in the day.

“Through social media. Social media is what’s hot this is how we mobilize people. This is the new way,” said Justin Coffie, a protester, and a resident of Riverview.

The message; black lives matter, fix racial injustice and stop police brutality. A message deputies heard as they were surrounded by the crowd at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Big Bend Road.

“Injustice in the system and it needs to be straightened out. We can’t be having this. We can’t be having any more George Floyd’s. We can’t. I’m sorry, because he died for no reason,” said David Anderson who also lives in Riverview.

Although businesses boarded up and closed early in anticipation of possible violence, the message was the focus with protesters standing up against any among their ranks that tried to instigate trouble.

“The violence was a distraction. To be able to come here, and for this to be peaceful, and get the message across and have people heard, that’s what’s important,” said Cynthia who also lives in Riverview.

Families brought their young ones and people of all races and cultures came to support the black community.

“I feel really good. Safe enough to bring my baby out. I feel really good. I’m happy about it,” said a woman who only described herself as Jane Doe.

The sun finally set on protesters as they sat and shared messages of hope for a better future for everyone.

“It feels like home. It feels like America,” said Coffie.

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