Protesters shut down area near Mall at Millenia

Hundreds join in Millenia Take Over protest


ORLANDO, Fla. – There was a major traffic backup Thursday night near the Mall at Millenia as cars were cut off by protesters lying in the middle of the road for 15 minutes.

Hundreds of protesters joined together in the Millenia Take Over protest, chanting as they walked from a shopping center parking lot down the sidewalk to the entrance of the mall.

There was a heavy police presence, including at least twenty officers on bikes that followed the marching crowd.

Protestors laid down for 15½ minutes in the crosswalk on Conroy Road, shutting down traffic to bring attention to what they say is the excessive force police are using on unarmed black men around the country.

The 15½ minutes represents the 11 times Eric Garner said "I can't breathe" before his death and another 4½ minutes to represent the 4½ hours Michael Brown spent on the ground after his death in Ferguson, Missouri.

"We want to show them a group of people can come together from all races and all backgrounds and say black lives matter," said Keisha Richardson, founder of the group Brown Boys Matter.

As protesters continued to chant, the traffic continued to build with cars backed up for miles.

"It's not getting anybody anywhere. It's not really helping anything. I get the cause, but I just think it's ridiculous," said one driver.

"Everyone's got somewhere they need to go, and I don't think this sways anybody's opinion. It kind of causes more trouble," said another driver.

But others took a moment to take it all in, pulling out their phones to take pictures.

"I love it, I love it, it's outstanding, that's what we need to do, stand up for the black people," one person said.

Organizers said while it may have been a minor inconvenience for some, it was a chance for others to spread awareness. There have been several other "die-ins," and the group said they will continue to do them. They also want to host a town hall where law enforcement leaders can take questions from the community.