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‘Using our voices’: Protesters line Troy Square

On Thursday, Timothy Lolley stood alone on the streets in downtown Troy in protest of the death of a black man in Minneapolis who cried out that he could not breathe with a police officer kneeling on his neck.

On Friday, Lolley was joined in the protest by a large gathering of primarily young adults.

Lolley, a Troy University senior from Butler County, said it was encouraging to have others join him a peaceful protest to bring awareness of the increasing mistreatment of black and brown people by police officers.

“We all have the privilege of using our voices in protest of the unfair treatment of others,” Lolley said. “This is a peaceful protest that is the result of police actions that caused the death of George Floyd on May 27 as well as to raise awareness that this was not an isolated incident.”

Lolley said his facebook protest post went viral, which is an indication that incident in Minneapolis was not an endpoint.

“It’s an indication that people across the country are increasingly aware of police brutality and are demanding that it stop,” he said. “George Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground. He was saying that he could not breathe because the police officer had his knee on his neck. People in the crowd were pleading with him to take his knee off. That’s why we are here. To protest police brutality and bring greater awareness to it.”

Lolley said since his post went viral, people are wanting to give him money.

“I can’t accept money so we have a Go Fund Me page that will be used for children in Pike County,” he said.

Lolley said he does not condone the violent actions in response to the incident in Minneapolis but that’s what happens when people are pushed into a corner.

“There are constructive ways to express fear and anger,” he said.

Shay Williams of Montgomery joined the protesters on Friday. She said such actions as those of the four Minneapolis police offers is an indication that a growing number of officers believe they are above the law and take the law into their own hands.

Chankilttra Osborn of Dothan said what happened in Minneapolis could happen anywhere.

“We are peacefully protesting the actions that caused the death of George Floyd and police brutality because it could happen in Montgomery or Dothan or even here in Troy.”

Troy University student Johnetta Rabb said her hope is that the protest will bring greater awareness to black injustice and that “our voices will make a difference.”

A local resident who gave his name only as Jonathan because he believes he speaks for many in saying that he does not condone police brutality as it was demonstrated in Minneapolis.

“We all need our voices to be heard,” he said. “A man was killed over a silly crime and what happened with all looting and burning was the result of voices not being heard.

“We are out here on the streets of Troy to let others hear our voices in hopes they will step up and let their voices be heard.”