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Demonstration planned for Saturday at Greene Square in Cedar Rapids

Updated: Jun. 3, 2020 at 6:14 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A protest is set for Saturday in Cedar Rapids to put a focus on police brutality after last week's death of George Floyd.

Dedric Doolin is the NAACP Cedar Rapids branch president, and he works on civil rights issues every day. It’s a fight he has been working at since middle school.

“It’s not just what is happening today, some of the things happening today was happening then," Doolin said. "The only thing different really today is it’s not as blatant and obvious, but one of the things happening today is that cell phones are around.”

He says the death of George Floyd has led to more calls.

“Some of the calls are pretty good calls," he said. "Some of the calls are, ‘what can I do, how can I get involved, how can I help to change this?’”

Calls like a protest planned at Greene Square, then through parts of downtown and back to Greene Square.

However, not all the details are being released on what is actually happening, and that’s for safety reasons.

“We got to stop it regardless of where it comes from," he said. "So you don’t know where it’s coming from, so if you minimize, people will have access to the event and the activity. They have a right to their voice, they have a right to their opinion, they even have a right to believe what they believe, but pushing on another is what we want to try to avoid.”

Doolin says he isn’t sure who the groups are that might be threatening violence. This weekend he says he heard people talking about looting Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids and harming law enforcement officers.

“I understand the emotions,” Doolin said. “I understand the anger. I have been in situations where I have been approached by a police officer and I felt I was disrespected. That hurts.”

He says it’s those threats that threaten the message of the protest. Cedar Rapids police will assist with traffic control for the planned event. The department is lined with barriers because people were hanging from the police signs on Sunday.

Doolin says this message is about change in police training, but also getting that message out peacefully.

“We’re not trying to add fuel to the fire,” he said. “We’re not trying to burn the neighborhood down. We want to live here, we want the community to be our community.”

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