DETROIT (WXYZ) — Protesters peacefully converged on downtown Detroit for the sixth night of demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. Marchers defied the 8 p.m. curfew and in response, Chief James Craig announced that officers would not make arrests, leading to a victory march for protesters back to police headquarters.
"I support the voice. I support peaceful protest," Craig said a half hour past the 8 p.m. curfew as marchers continued down East Jefferson Avenue near downtown.
The 8 p.m. curfew remained in effect for the city, and hundreds of protesters defied the curfew on Wednesday night.
They marched down Jefferson Avenue from downtown Detroit away from the city, going in the direction of Grosse Pointe. After reaching Belle Isle, marchers regrouped and leaders announced that the large crowd would make their way to Lafayette for a victory march back to police headquarters.
Chief Craig spoke to the media around 8:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the curfew, saying the department is "making a decision to support them."
Hundreds of people have been arrested over the course of the protests in Detroit. On Tuesday night alone, 127 people were arrested during protests as they made their way down Gratiot Ave. into the city's east side.
A majority were arrested for defying the 8 p.m. curfew. One person was charged with a misdemeanor disturbing the peace. Originally, Craig said that person was charged with inciting a riot, but after reviewing it, they adjusted it to a much lower charge.
Of the 127 arrested, 47 were from Detroit. Police say six were from out of state.
"We don't back down to bullies and shields," the protesters chanted before officers moved in and began arrests.
The protesters were zip-tied and placed in a large DPD bus. Chief James Craig addressed media following the incident, saying that he had received a tip that a group of protesters had planned on defying the curfew.
"It is not our goal, it is not our desire, to arrest protesters. That’s not the outcome this department is looking for," Craig said on Wednesday.
According to Craig, they had intel that the protests were not going to be as peaceful as Monday's protest, with several people planning to be arrested for violating curfew.
Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day. Video shows officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes. Chauvin and three other officers were quickly fired and Chauvin was eventually charged with third degree murder.