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Clergy, police and state leaders lead peace march in Detroit to honor George Floyd

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 17:28:29-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — State leaders, law enforcement and local clergy led a peace march several miles down Woodward Thursday, alongside hundreds of community members like Steve Hodges from Detroit.

“It starts with a conversation. It also starts with the powers to be to recognize that it is a problem," Hodges told 7 Action News. "If it’s our problem it’s your problem."

The march was to honor the life of George Floyd. Thursday's event comes as 46-year-old Floyd was memorialized in Minneapolis – a little more than a week after he died while in police custody.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, despite Floyd telling officers he could not breathe. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd's death. Three other officers involved are charged with aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter.

“It is on all of us to be a part of healing, of solving problems and that’s why I wanted to be here," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday.

Gov. Whitmer, along with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Mayor Mike Duggan walked alongside Bishop Charles Ellis of the Greater Grace Temple, leading the walk.

“I’m glad that our brothers and sisters in the Islamic community came out. The Jewish community came out. Even some in the Buddhist community came out," Bishop Ellis said.

A portion of Woodward was closed for the march, wrapping up at Wayne State.

Lauren Whitfield participated with her 10-year-old son.

“I’m a single mother that’s raising a black boy. And I need to teach him and I need him to understand the value of his life," she said.

For Whitfield, the march was about making the policy changes that will allow her son to feel safe.

“We need to make a start, we need to take a step," Whitfield told 7 Action News.

Bishop Ellis said one action that needs to be taken is greater accountability for bystanders, who see racial injustices or crimes occur and don’t speak up.

“If you have any morality. If you have any benevolence. If you have any heart. If you have any conscious. I don’t want to be a part of that," the Bishop told 7 Action News.

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