Protests turned riots associated with the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, carried on across the country throughout the week—spurred on, at least in part, by continuing violence perpetrated by police and citizens alike. This Is Reno reporter Don Dike-Anukam was assaulted by rioters when Saturday’s Black Lives Matter protest in the Biggest Little City turned into a riot.
On Monday night, a Las Vegas police officer was shot in the head, allegedly by a rioter. On Thursday evening, police officers in Buffalo, New York, shoved a 75-year-old protester causing him to strike his head on the ground. Surrounding officers called for a medic as blood flowed from the back of the unconscious man’s head.
Thankfully, things remained peaceful and relaxed on Thursday night in Reno as people gathered once again in front of Reno City Hall on the corner of First and North Virginia streets. The small contingent of protesters—numbering a few dozen at its largest—held their signs aloft, mostly talking amongst themselves but occasionally breaking their quiet to shout back to passing drivers honking their horns in support.
Reno Police Department officers on scene numbered about a half a dozen, most of them members of the department’s bike team. As with the protesters, most said they’d been at City Plaza every night since Saturday. Both police and protesters said they expected to be out in the nights to come—police until Reno’s damaged City Hall is repaired, protesters until they feel progress has been made toward their goals.
Protesters Macayla and Bella said they’d both been out several days in a row. Both also intend to attend a Black Lives Matter event slated for Sunday. Sitting on the pavement alongside their fellow protesters, the pair acknowledged that changes they want to see in society may be a long time in coming because—as both of these young, white women see it—racism is built into America’s system of governance and its citizens’ everyday lives.
“People say that the system is broken, when, in reality, it’s working the way it was meant to this entire time. Racism is built into the foundation of this country. And I think we need a revolution to abolish all of it and start from scratch,” Bella said.
Black Lives Matter organizers have planned a vigil to be held at City Plaza between 4 and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Macayla and Bella plan to be there. They view the events as an opportunity for further dialogue on issues ranging from police training and use of militarized equipment to the media’s publication of photos showing protesters’ faces.
The Facebook page for the Sunday BLM event so far shows nearly 500 people who’ve confirmed their attendance. Organizers on the page ask, “Rioters stay home, please.”