A fifth day of protests in Lancaster city in response to the death of George Floyd were peaceful Wednesday night as attendance dropped and camaraderie soared between protesters and police.
Less than 100 demonstrators assembled in front of the city police station on West Chestnut Street, mimicking positive sentiments from Tuesday, when city police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser marched with protesters, spoke in support of their cause and took a knee.
Some attributed the lower attendance Wednesday to weather. Dark clouds loomed and an occasional drizzle occurred during the demonstration.
Floyd, 46, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Derek Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, but the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder. Three other officers also were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four officers were fired.
Protesters and police officers on Wednesday took turns at a microphone affixed to a white pickup truck to share their sentiments on the improved relations between the two parties.
On Sunday, protesters — some of whom were pepper-sprayed — urged city Mayor Danene Sorace to send police home. The two sides shared praise and hugs on Wednesday evening.
Officers who spoke Wednesday vowed to work with the community.
“You gotta give us a chance,” an officer told protesters. “This doesn’t happen overnight.”
In addition, several protesters voiced their appreciation to two officers who took off their uniforms after their shifts to march with protesters, drawing applause.