Daytona Beach police chief asks community to participate in peaceful protest, calls Minneapolis officer a ‘murderer’

Community protest planned for Thursday

Protestors were seen gathering in Daytona Beach Sunday afternoon. (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach community leaders have organized a demonstration dubbed the “I Can’t Breath Peaceful Protest” to take place Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

The city’s police department along with local organizations hosted a news conference Tuesday to provide more details about the community collaboration to organize the event.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said the department is a partner in the event.

“I don’t consider that officer a police officer, I consider him a murderer for what he did," Capri said.

Capri’s comments come a week after video surfaced of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for longer than eight minutes. Floyd is heard pleading for air until he could no longer breathe. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death.

“There’s dead police officers because of this idiot and what he did,” Capri said. “The senseless violence against law enforcement as a result of this, I don’t think Mr. Floyd would want this. There’s police officers getting killed every day over this incident, innocent people that aren’t law enforcement, minding their own business, getting killed, assaulted, beaten and attacked. There’s businesses, people worked their whole lives, invested money in that are getting destroyed.”

Capri went on to say that the department is part of the community, and that’s why they assisted in organizing a peaceful protest.

“Let’s come together as a nation, as a community. Let’s learn from this. Let’s work together peacefully like we do here in Daytona Beach,” he said.

Mayor Derrick Henry echoed Capri’s statements, saying the city has strong bonds with both the police department and the community. He says its fitting everyone unites to uplift the voices of those hurting during these times.

“It is important that the voice of George Floyd be heard around the world. The ‘I can’t breath’ voice is a voice that should not be silenced. While we are proud of our law enforcement and proud of our civic and community leaders and proud of all that they do to keep us a unified community," Mayor Derrick Henry said. “We recognize that there is yet work to be done not only in our community but across this nation. We are committed to engaging in that work.”

Henry emphasized alongside Capri that the goal of Thursday’s event was to have a peaceful protest and to demonstrate responsibly alongside the officers that will be joining them during the march.

Capri recognizing Chauvin’s actions as violent and murderous used powerful words to say people must not return violence with violence.

“There’s dead police officers because of this idiot and what he did," Capri said. “It doesn’t mean that we need to result in violence and burn things down and destroy innocent people’s properties and homes. We need to come together as a community, as a nation in peace, peacefully protests under the rights of our First Amendment Rights -- and we’re going to do that here in Daytona Beach.”

The protest is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at City Island of Daytona Beach. The flyer advertising the event asks everyone to meet in the north parking lot. The NAACP will arrive early to provide voter registration information and to promote the completion of the 2020 census.

The event is set to open with a prayer at 6 p.m., according to the flyer. People will be allowed to join the protest by foot or car to cross the ISB bridge in a peaceful demonstration. Participants are encouraged to bring signs, megaphones and to decorate their vehicles with the names of people “who have died due to this virus called racism, police brutality and discrimination.”

Organizers ask people to bring a face mask, hand sanitizer, signs and bottled water to stay hydrated.